I was on hand yesterday for the arrival of Air China’s inaugural flight from Beijing into Dulles International Airport (IAD).
The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) invited some local people to participate in the gala welcoming ceremony as part of their “Discover Dulles” program.
The airport authority sure knows how to throw a party.
The 25 Discover Dulles participants, along with about 50 journalists, were transported to the airfield via IAD’s infamous mobile lounges for a close up view of landing.
It was an exciting moment when the plane touched down.
We were rushed back onto the mobile lounge and whisked closer to the terminal so we could view the aircraft run the gauntlet through the ceremonial water arch.
Two fire trucks were dispatched to pump a stream of water over the airplane to celebrate the arrival of the inaugural flight. This is aviation’s equivalent of christening a new ship.
After the plane landed, the Ambassador of China and Virginia Governor McAuliffe were feted by Chinese lion dancers.
Several traditional Chinese musicians played at the reception.
The speeches heralded the 7,000 mile avionic bridge that had been established between Washington and Beijing, and the cultural, diplomatic, and economic exchanges that would ensue.
Oh, and the swag! Each participant received a goodie bag with a propellor paperweight, a model of the airplane, and other “stuff.”
This was a fun event: I got to meet some Chinese journalists, airport personnel, and aviation geeks.
Keep your eyes peeled for other opportunities like this on the Discover Dulles webpage.
Earn More, Burn Less
In honor of the new service, Air China’s frequent flyer program, Phoenix Miles, is running a promotion on travel between Beijing and Washington, DC.
You can earn fifty percent more than the regular miles on flights, and award travel will be discounted.
You need to register for the promotion in advance online.
The promotion runs through December 31, 2014.
The new service will be operated by Air China’s Boeing 777-300ER featuring three cabins: first class (Forbidden Pavilion); business (Capital Pavilion); and economy class.
First class cabins offer luxury suites and business class cabins have 180-degree flatbed seats.