These shots aren’t particularly nice but, at the time I took them, I didn’t realize that they would be a bit more significant for a friend of mine. He was a skipper for Virgin Atlantic and making his first run to Seattle. I went out to get his arrival despite it being a bit gloomy. We met up afterwards for a beer and some food. He flew back the following day.
Since that time, the airline business (along with many businesses) has taken a bad turn and Virgin Atlantic has been getting rid of staff. My friend was eligible for retirement and decided to take it. Consequently, this flight turned out to be the last landing he made in his commercial flying career. The return leg landing was made by another member of his crew. It would have been nice if the conditions were better but I am glad I was there to see it. Happy retirement Chris and see you soon I hope!
When a new Star Wars movie is released, it seems to be the thing to arrange a tie in with an airline and have them paint jets in special Star Wars themed liveries. ANA was a part of this and I have shot a variety of their special paint scheme jets which you can see here and here. For the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker, United got in on the game and painted a 737 in a black livery with special marking including one side with a blue lightsaber and one with a red. I had not seen the jet before. It has been to SeaTac a few times but never when I could get there (or when it was daylight). Finally it showed up one evening when the weather was great so nice light. Only one side to see of course but here it is!
No lengthy story for this. I was waiting at SeaTac for an arrival and got distracted by the jets lining up for departure. It got quite busy at one point with a bunch of jets awaiting their slot. Occasionally the departing jets appeared nicely in the background. Unfortunately, there are some lot poles in the area which are rather distracting.
The collapse of Thomas Cook meant that the German subsidiary, Condor, has gone it alone. The fleet had a tail marking that reflected the parent company but, with their demise, they are now adopting a tail design that is back to their own branding. I saw one of the new tails on this 767 arriving at SeaTac shortly before a BA 777 that I was waiting for because I was picking up the skipper. Below is what it used to look like (albeit in nicer light).
While I had headed to SeaTac to see the 21Air 767 arrive, I hung around for a couple of other arrivals. Delta operates a variety of long haul types into the airport and this includes A330s of the older and newer generations. First to arrive was an A330-300. A little while later, it was followed by an A330-900, the A330neo version. I thought I would try and get identical shots of both jets to see how much the engine and winglet changes showed up when looking at them in flight. Here are shots to compare the two types for you to make your own comparisons. I think the differences are there but they are not drastic.
SeaTac is not the easiest place to get shots of the arrivals in the afternoon if the flow is from the north. The inner runway is okay but the outer is not so easy without bugging the more experienced locals. I was heading to the airport for a meeting but, with easy traffic, I got there a little early and decided to do a quick trip around the airport. I came across a gravel parking area that gives a view of short final. The planes appear quickly and are soon below the sight lines for the runway but there is a window in which you can shoot. On this day the weather was crummy with rain constantly coming down – sometimes very heavily. This was just a recce but I did get an A220 and some other types in the few minutes I was there before heading to my meeting.
Alaska Airlines has a 737 flying in a special scheme as a Salute to Veterans. I have shot that in the past and it appeared on the blog in this post. I wasn’t aware until recently that they had painted a second jet in a similar scheme – this time from their regional fleet. This is an Embraer E175-E1. Here it is departing SeaTac one morning while I was awaiting my flight out.
I was picking up some family members that were coming to stay. I got to the airport a little ahead of their scheduled arrival time and, since it was some time near an airport, I figured a bit of photography wouldn’t go amiss. They were coming in on a Virgin 787-9 so I knew I would shoot that. The heavies come in on the inner runway, but the rest tend to go to the outer. You can still get them, but it isn’t so close. I figured a few shots on a cloudy day was worth time to experiment with exposing high and playing with the shots in post.
The merger of the Virgin America fleet into Alaska Airlines started off slowly at first. With Virgin taking delivery of new jets, Alaska pondered how to mark them up. The first of the A321neos came in Virgin America colors but then one arrived in a plain scheme with some outlines on it of west coast skylines under the tag line “Most West Coast”. It didn’t have obvious airline branding and I wrote about it here. It turns out that jet did not stay in those colors for long. It has now received the standard Alaska Airlines branding and I saw it operating out of SeaTac heading to Los Angeles.
My first Delta A220 (or C Series if you are old school) showed up in this post from when I was at DFW. It was only on the ramp so no flying action on that occasion. SeaTac is one of the regular destinations now and one was departing when I had just landed and was waiting to meet my sister off her flight from the UK. Shooting through the windows at an airport is a bit hit or miss. The quality of the glass is one concern since it is thick stuff. You also have mixed cleanliness and reflections from the interior. Then you have to deal with the heat coming off whatever is on the ramp with the potential for lots of APU and engine exhausts. However, I did get some clear shots of it as it got airborne. I think the shape is quite distinctive and I am really coming to like the type.