Simply the best

Premium passengers, executive travelers, elite mileage club members, the people who really rack up the miles – they know what they like and what they don’t like about the air travel experience. So it’s particularly gratifying that for the second year in a row, these travelers chose Boeing’s long-haul airplanes as their preferred airplane types.

You may recall that about a year ago we talked about the survey in Global Traveler which picked the 747 and 777 as the top two airplanes. They’ve done it again this past year.

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The best is getting better. Here are some views of the new-look interior mockup of the 747-8 Intercontinental. The Door 2 entryway (top photo), and first class accommodations. (bottom photo).

We recently celebrated the honor in an event just down the street from my office at the Boeing Customer Experience Center – the facility where we get to show off to customers and media our interior mockups and services offerings.

The event featured the new 747-8 interior mock-up, a new cutaway display model and the marketing displays for the airplane.

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Our newest exhibit: a 1:20 Scale 747-8 model with a dynamic interior, created by PacMin, the people who bring you a variety of miniature aircraft models, among other products.

During the ceremony, Alexandra Young, vice president and associate publisher of Global Traveler Magazine, presented the 747 Program with the award for “Best Aircraft Type of 2008” – as selected by their reader survey published in the December issue.

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GT’s Alexandra Young and 747 Program vice president and general manager Mo Yahyavi with the “Best Aircraft Type” award.

More than 30,000 readers participated in the “2008 GT Tested Awards” survey for the best in business and luxury travel. You can download the entire survey and article (PDF), as it appeared in print.

Here’s how the top-10 shaped up in the GT survey:

Best Aircraft Type

  1. Boeing 747
  2. Boeing 777
  3. Boeing 767
  4. Airbus A340
  5. Airbus A330
  6. Boeing 737
  7. Airbus A380
  8. Airbus A320
  9. Boeing 757
  10. Embraer 170
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A first look at the 747-8’s stretched upper deck - in business class configuration.

At the event, my marketing colleague Gil Key made a good analogy about the 747. It kind of puts into perspective the fact that the -8 is more than just a derivative of former versions of the 747.

Gil says, think of the 747 family as you might a Porsche 911. Both were introduced around the same time, both are icons of their time. And yet they also continue today to be the most advanced examples of performance. Take a look at the poster image below to see what he means.

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Both vehicles have an enduring design and state of the art performance. They’ve evolved, improved and sustained their status as market leaders.

Would you consider a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera a 40-year old vehicle? Of course not.

As the readers of Global Traveler will tell you, the 747 reigns supreme today, and the passenger experience will only improve with the new 747-8 Intercontinental. Or as Tina Turner might say, “simply the best, better than all the rest.”

Comments (14)

P.Sumantri (France):

Let me guess.

The new Porsche 911 Carrera has better aerodynamics, better engine, better electronics, better cabin and better maintenance cost than its ancestor.

Do I get it right?

Mark (United States):

Excellent entry. Like the 747, I can recognize a Porsche 911 from far away because of it's signature shape.

Kinbin (Taipei Taiwan):

Besides all the improvements on the Carrera, as stated by Sumantri, can I also infer that if one buys a 747-8, the new Carrera comes along packaged in the aircraft in the cargo hold as well?

Not a bad business proposition at all!

"Birds of the same heritage fly together" :)

bill (wichita,ks):

The survey results are a clear reflection of the great value Boeing products bring to the marketplace. A real source of pride for everyone.

Ernie. Troncelliti (Johnson City, NY, 13790):

Congratulations to Mr. Sumantri. He hit it right on the Head. Just like all Boeing Aircraft. Better aerodynamics, better engine, better electronics, better cabin and better maintenance cost than its ancestor.

stephen (Everett WA):

Nice post! As a Boeing employee and a long-time admirer of the Porsche 911, I was wondering where I can get one of those posters?
Keep this stuff coming!

Chris C (South Africa):

The 747-8I certainly has a very modern, clean, fresh and open design philosophy. The all-new Door 2 entry is a welcomed revision to the 747-400 cabin indeed. The comfort levels on the 747 have always been superb, (I’ve enjoyed many hundreds of hours of flying on 747’s for nearly 10years) and I wouldn’t expect anything less than pole-position for the 747, not only in terms of passenger appeal, but in market appeal, investor appeal, performance and capabilities!

The first-class cabin zone in the “nose” of the airplane has always been a major trump-card for the 747, as it offers true levels of serenity; no through traffic.
The stretched upper-deck also offers similar attributes as the nose section of the 747, thus allowing operators’ greater flexibility in terms of seating arrangements. Arik Air, for one, has clearly realized the flexibility the massive 747-8I cabin offers, with their plans for their 747-8Is to be configured to a 5-class seating arrangement comprising of Presidential, First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy class, with the Presidential Class being situated on the entire upper-deck comprising of 16 seats!

The 747-8I is the right airplane for the 400 seat and larger airplane market, and clearly offers the best operating costs, fuel-efficiencies and economics of any large airplane, period.

P.s: Cool comparison of the -8I with the Porsche 911Carrera, although I’m an Aston Martin DBS and Range Rover man myself! ; )

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

You mention in this post three items that I hold in high regard.

Firstly, the 747. With continuing innovation, the use of the latest materials and ideas, the aircraft is transformed from a familiar benchmark shape - both in aesthetics and operating performance - to one of even better benchmark standards. Maybe, there is no real change in philosophy - Boeing is just allowing for the march of technology to be absorbed once more into one of the greatest airplanes ever built - probably the best in my opinion. I agree with Chris - this airplane has many trump cards. Not least of which is its speed - the fastest subsonic ship for the best part of the last 40 years. And yet, the most economical for the same period. Indeed, the 747-8 Intercontinental will be amongst the most efficient airliners ever built. That can only mean that it is a totally redesigned project in step with the latest ideas and technologies.

Like the singer, the aircraft has been more popular in Europe than in the US. This has been the result of different needs of different markets. These needs change over time exposing new customers to dynamic products like the 747.

The Porsche 911 Carrera is an institution in motoring excellence respected worldwide. My favorite has to be the 911 GT2 - what an awesome machine! Some stiff competition there with the Nissan R35GTR. P.Sumantri - yes you’re right about all of those. At Porsche, you'll see that they’re committed to improving their product range/offering and continually bringing satisfied customers back for more. The Porsche 911, in the various models offered, has consistently been a top performer in its class.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Nice depiction of the 747-8I, a definite 21st century airliner.

The top three airliners are not surprisingly from Boeing, the 747 by virtue of it's versatility of being a passenger and front loading cargo liner has it in production for 40 years and it is as useful today as it was 4 decades ago, the 777 has been able to adopt to an evolving environment and the 767 still fits the needs of many airline roots today and serve efficiently. The 737 is the most successful airliner in aviation history and I think the success of the 737 is more than being at the right place at the right time but the sale of a good product that the airlines need and the services and quality they want.

steve (leftwich, idaho):

The 747 is the best, and will remain the best for a very long time to come. its the only reason why Boeing is still a company today. Thank you Joe Sutter.

Sam (Seattle) :

Absolutely. I think this article brilliantly explains why a great classic design can remain current and competitive for a very, very long time. The shape we love stays the same, while all the running gear gets updated as technology advances.

The 911 is the best, but certainly not the only, example of how an iconic design can remain true to its initial philosophy and keep the best of its character through decades of improvements to performance, reliability, efficiency, safety, comfort, and everything else that matters.

The new product is light-years ahead of the old, yet it keeps its character, its feel, its artistic statement. Few designs are good enough to evolve successfully in this way... but let no one get away with saying that a great design should be scrapped simply because time has passed. It's a fantastic design! Beautiful, practical, useful, unique, and surprisingly efficient! The wings, the engines, the controls, so many things have changed so much over the years, but the shape of the fuselage is something they got right the first time around.

Long live the 747. May she still be kept at the forefront of evolving technology in the decades to come.

Phil (Wokingham Berkshire UK):

It's probable the Global Travelers poll results is subjective & based on a catchment sector that may not be truly globaly representative.

From a European standpoint had the poll perhaps been carried out by an European publication as opposed to US one the top ten hierarchy of preferred aircraft may just have been radically different in both twin & single aisle types but we should consider that for whatever reason europe with many other parts of the world works from a totally different favoured & availability aircraft base.

Whilst the 747 took the hero postion it cannot be denied that the A380 currently has limited flight availability out of the the US Having flown up the type up front, on top & in the back laterly by choice, comparing the A380 to the 747-4 is like comparing chalk & cheese, given the choice on the same route irrespective of operational carrier the A380 would be my own everytime first choice.

Beck Nader (Belo Horizonte, Brazil):

Beautiful images, a clever post and clever comments.

Superb engineering!

As someone said. It would be wonderful to get both machines!

Peter/California:

Where would one go about getting this poster with the 747-8I and the Porsche 911? That is a thing of beauty.

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