Thanks for everyone who participated in this week's survey – more than three times as many people had an opinion about flying in a single engined jet than had an opinion about airports' obligations to manage snow removal.
There's another survey following for this week, but let's first see what you thought last week. The question was how you'd feel about flying in a futuristic jet with only one engine.
Not many people liked this idea at all, with the overwhelming majority flat out refusing to travel on a single engined plane at all. You can include me in that group, too!
As an interesting side bar, I'm told that the illustration of the single engine jet (pictured above) may be a bit of an optical illusion – there may actually be a second engine but obscured by the angle the illustration was drawn at. So maybe this is not yet a reality we'll be forced to confront. Thank goodness for that.
Talking about new planes, Boeing has sort of announced a successor to the 737. In remarks at a teleconference to mark the company's fourth quarter earnings report, CEO Jim McNerney made some bold predictions about Boeing's future plans (albeit with some subtle equivocations buried in the detail of his comments).
787 : He reaffirmed the company's ability to delivery the first plane in the third quarter this year, and seemed to imply it would be delivered complete with the essential FAA ETOPS certification to give it effective long range operating capabilities. He said Boeing expects to deliver 12 – 20 of the 787s by the end of 2011.
747-8 : Almost overlooked due to Boeing's higher visibility problems with the 787 is the largely unwanted and unloved 747-8, which has had plenty of delays and challenges too. McNerney said this plane will also finally get out the door, and projects delivering 12 – 20 of those too by the end of 2011.
737 successor : He seemed to say, albeit with some equivocation, that Boeing plans to completely replace the 737 rather than re-engine the existing airframe, and projects to have the new jet entering service in 2019 or 2020, but this was at most a very preliminary prediction for what Boeing might do, rather than any clear commitment to a new plane.
Another plane too : McNerney said that by mid-decade the company will develop a new wide-body plane – either a new version of the 777 or of the 787. If they are going to do that and get it flying by mid-decade, you'd think they'd already have specific plans rather than a casual throwaway comment.
To put lead times into context – both for the 737 successor and the 777/787 derivative, the all new 787 project was initiated in January 2003. All going well, the first commercial flight of the 787 will be eight and a half years after the 787's first announcement.
The derivative 747-8 was first announced in 2005, and all going well, the first 747-8 will enter commercial service six and a half years after that announcement.
So it looks very difficult for Boeing to get either a new plane or a derivative plane into the air in the time lines mentioned, particularly because these references this week are nothing like the official launch of the two new airplane programs.
More details here.
Good news on our Scotland's Islands and Highlands tour this June. It is now almost half full, after three more people signed up last week. Soon the price will start to reduce, because the tour cost per person is based on the total number in the group.
So please do think about this some more and let me know if you can come and join us on this wonderful tour around much of the parts of Scotland that normal tourists never get to see.
Because, of course – you're not a normal tourist. You're a Travel Insider!
A couple of comments as pre-cursor to this week's reader survey. I read an interesting article that referred to iPads and tablets in general as devices which manufacturers hope people will buy not just one but multiple tablets to have 'lying around the home'.
That of course is a massive market size multiplier, and one can understand the convenience factor of having an instant-on type internet access device/tablet in several different locations around the house. Manufacturers are very keen to increase the total number of 'screens' we all have in our homes.
Among other potential 'screens', might tablets at last become the much talked about kitchen computing device that can be used for accessing recipes, preparing shopping lists, and everything else? Possibly so, although in my case, I already use my iPhone to store recipes and shopping lists (and use a program that shares such data between the iPhone, the iPad, and my computer too).
It was also interesting to see that Amazon continues to ring up ever increasing sales of eBooks for its Kindle e-reader. They say that eBooks are now outselling paperback books on their site, with 115 Kindle format eBooks being sold from their site for every 100 paperback books.
And so I find myself wondering – just how many tablets and eBook readers do we already have? Being as how Travel Insiders tend to be early adopters of gadgets, I thought it would be interesting to ask and find out.
Would you please click the link on the answer that best describes your situation. This will generate an email with your answer in the subject line. I'll report on the answers next week.
What else for this week? Lots of discussion arising from the terrible bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, and I urge you to read the two articles about protecting our airports and a better approach to counter-terrorism in general. Plus there's a ridiculously funny piece in our weekly security section.
On a more serious note, there's an even-more-outrageous-than-normal security horror story for the week.
And, while it isn't clear what relationship it has to the main theme of The Travel Insider, there's a fascinating article on a new way to lose weight while saving money at the same time.
Until next week, please enjoy safe travels