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Our First Look at Air New Zealandís New Boeing 777, Including the SkyCouch!

December 24, 2010 at 10:48 AM | by | ()

Earlier this week, we took a pre-holiday jaunt up to Seattle for a quickie tour of the Boeing factory, including visits to the 777 and 787 production lines, with the final goal being a tete-a-tete with Air New Zealandís new SkyCouch-equipped 777-300ERs.

At their flagship facility in Everett, Washington, just outside Seattle, we heard about the companyís strategic planning for the future and itís twin-pronged strategy of promoting the 777 and 787 as complementary components of an airlineís service. As the giant planes ever so slowly inched along on their assembly lines, we learned that although Boeing is only turning out 5 777s monthly right now, the plan is to increase productivity to 8.3 a month by 2013, for a grand total of 100 a year.

And then we were off to visit the big guns: the 787 Dreamliner and Air NZ's new baby, a shiny 777-300ER.

After schmoozing with fresh-faced Air New Zealand flight crew, decked out in entirely new uniforms of Barbie pink, we got a good night's sleep so that weíd be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the handover ceremony, when the airline officially takes ownership of the plane, followed by the delivery flight from Seattle to LA of the first of Air New Zealandís new Boeing 777ís, outfitted with the much ballyhooed SkyCouches as well as the new Premium Economy and Business Premier seats.

For now, until after the holiday, we'll let the gallery of photos above tell the rest of the tale. It includes everything from our images of the Boeing factory to the handover festivities, the Maori blessing of the plane, and our first, exclusive shots of the interior of Air New Zealandís new Boeing 777, plus a quick video walk-through of the plane.

Though the new 777 wonít be put into regular commercial service until April, weíve also managed to snag a seat on the planeís delivery flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, and weíll be bringing you more photo and video coverage of the service and the seats as they behave on a truly long-haul flight, so stay tuned!

Disclosure: Special Jaunted correspondent Eric Rosen was a guest of Air New Zealand for the 777 flights and festivities. Regardless, all images, video and opinions expressed here are completely his own.

[Photos: Eric Rosen for Jaunted]

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