As a child, I stood for hours on end – sometimes the entire weekend, watching planes take off and land at our local airport. I was young, naive, and didn’t even know planes flew based on predetermined schedules.

42698081 - boeing 747 jet preparing to land wheels down on final approach

In 1994, I took my first ever ride in a Boeing 747 – a transatlantic flight. I’d saved for years for the ticket and was like a kid in a candy factory on board. I didn’t notice the seat layouts, meal choices or anything else that people complain about today when flying commercially. I was just numb inside with excitement.

Since Pan Am’s inaugural flight in 1970, the “jumbo jet” has captivated flyers around the world. To this day, I watch passengers stop what they are doing as one passes, taxiing to or from the runway. How does a fully laden plane weighing 485 tons take off and land so gracefully? A truly amazing engineering feat.

In the last 46 years since that inaugural flight, a lot has changed in the airline industry. The original “innovators” such as Pan Am and TWA have long stopped flying, and we now have a landscape dominated by US mega-carriers, middle-Eastern airlines such as Etihad and Emirates, national carriers, and the discounters like Ryan Air and Southwest Airlines. We’ve also witnessed Airbus become a viable global competitor to Boeing, and the introduction of the A-380. If you really want to learn about legroom, try sitting on one of those planes on the lower deck for a 10-hour flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg!

I now find myself increasingly reading about airlines retiring their 747-fleets for fuel economy reasons and the expanding number of planes in 747 graveyards in places like Victorville, California. While I recognize that change is the one constant in this world, I don’t feel the same emotional connection to a Boeing 777 or a Dreamliner as they pass by, as when watching a 747.

Call me sentimental, but I am hoping that jumbo jets keep flying as long as possible, as there will always be something special about one of the coolest, earliest examples of technological genius in our world.

Would love to hear your thoughts on a product or technology that you hold near and dear to your hearts. Drop me a line at davids@idebamarketing.com.

 

– David Sly, President