In January 2013, a couple of incidents happened to the Boeing 787 that caused it to be grounded world wide. These incidents with lithium ion batteries caused waves of hysteria both amongst the media, the aviation world and the travelling public. All worried if the 787’s ground breaking technology was really “pie in the sky” dreams.
As the battery fix was approved, and airlines around the world began to return their 787s to service, Avgeeks everywhere found ways to get onto the first services being reintroduced. United had their “Reinagural” service from Houston to Chicago, a replica of their first service by the 787. However a lot of airlines were not having the fan fare that was expected, keeping the service resumptions fairly low key.
ANA was looking to help reintroduce their 787s back into North American service on the 1st of June and had invited some travel writers, along with a few Avgeeks along to help promote the service. This saw the creation of the ANA Ambassador program, to help promote the 787, its services and ground breaking technology. They wanted to promote the connections into Asia that the service from San Jose could provide, this would in turn not only provide much needed promotion of the service, but also help promote the aircraft itself and reassure the public that it is infact safe to fly.
I was selected as part of my affiliation with Airline Reporter along with Jason from NYC Aviation/Apex Magazine to be the two Avgeeks on the first service as we winged our way to Tokyo. But that was not to be the end of the adventure. No, we were to continue on to Hong Kong (remember the Asian connection part) to experience the city that started the 787 service to begin with. The first International service operated by a 787 was from Tokyo to Hong Kong. What better way to restart a service then to continue to this famed city.
There was to be many an adventure in Hong Kong as the Peninsula Hotel came onboard to host the 5 of us as we toured and explored the city, while staying at one of the finest hotels. An amazing itinerary would be crammed into 3 short nights, before we returned back from Hong Kong with ANA, back to the USA and reality.
An amazing adventure… one that would be the envy of many and for me a celebration, as I got to return to a city I love, do the things I love and most of all. Enjoy every single minute of it.