Boeing Factory, Seattle
The Underground Tour seems to be famous in Seattle. Prior to doing travelling I wasn't sure if I would bother with this but when I was there more local people said that I should. So I did and I truly enjoyed it. It was unique to say the least.
I won't try to explain the evolution of Seattle to you in this tip but you truly get to see what happened and experience much of the old artifacts that still exist.
The guides were all funny, my guide Lucy was particularly good. I assume because of her training and interest in the arts, she certainly kept people on their toes.
On the day of my visit there was literally hundreds of participants at 3 pm on an off season Saturday in May. You start of in the Doc Maynard pub where they give you a humerous overview and preamble of what is to follow.
You then proceed outside for interpretation around a few city blocks above and beneath the city blocks. Underground it is dark obviously as you walk along a wooded walkway to observe all the artifacts.
Bill Spiedel was a very enterprising man so as you would expect at the end of the tour you exit from the underground straight into Rogue's Gallery where you can buy all sorts of fun things. I opted for his book, "The Sons of the Profits".
I should also mention for some reason I though Bill Speidel would be leading the tour. Mr. Speidel is now passed away :-( He lived from 1912 - 1988. They will tell you lots of fun stories about this man as well. A journalist and businessman he was one of the great Seattle historians. His writings are easy and fun to read but he exemplifies what you will learn to be the Seattle spirit.
I give this tour two thumbs up and recommend you go. This is another things you might want to do very early on in your visit. That way you will have a better appreciation for specific city districts and even know who the odd street or business is named after. Whether it is Yesler Way, Denny's Way or Doc Maynard's Pub.
If you like airplanes then you must see the Museum of Flight located right outside Seattle. It is built on the ground of the original Boeing factory and still has the original red barn that Boeing used to make their early aircraft. In the museum you can take a tour of the factory and see how they built some of the original aircraft. You can also tour their main floor which has an impressive display of passenger planes, WWII aircraft and fighter jets. Definitely a very fun and interesting experience.
This is a fascinating tour through the largest building in the world (by volume), The 747, 767, 777, and 787 are built here.
You'll see how the largest commercial airliners are put together from start to finish. Two short movies are included as well. In October of 2005, Boeing opened a brand new visitor center, creating an entirely new tour experience.
During peak season, get advanced reservations. Or, show up early for the first tour (8:15). Summer tours usually sell out. This is a good tour for kids age 10 and above. Kids must be 4'2" or taller. $10 for advanced reservations. $5 if you just show up and risk all tours being full.
The Boeing factory is the world's largest building by volume - 472,000,000 cubic feet. Obviously the tour does not cover the entire factory but you definitely get a feel for how huge it is. Built in early 1967 the factory is home to the 747, 767, 777 and the new 787 Dreamliner production lines.
We had a great tour guide. The tour was so informative - we learned so much - and really cool. We saw new planes waiting to be delivered (including 2 Air India planes, which was very cool and very much needed!), and many planes in various stages of assembly in 2 different buildings. The highlight was getting to see the very first 787 Dreamliner at the end of the assembly line. It was to be delivered summer 2008 for its first commercial flight in the fall of 2008.
Before or after your tour spend some time in the Future of Flight Aviation Center. There are various exhibits and you can digitally design and test your own jet and ride the XJ5 simulator and "fly" at supersonic speeds. There is a also cafe and very cool Boeing Store in the Future of Flight building.
The actual Boeing tour lasts about 90 minutes. Cameras and personal items are not allowed on the tour. Secure lockers (small fee) are provided at the ticket office/Future of Flight building. You will be walking about 1/3 mile on the tour and will encounter about 20 steep stairs.
The Future of Flight opens daily at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Boeing Tours are offered on the hour between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
General Admission ........... $15.00
Senior Citizen (65+) ......... $14.00
Active Military (with ID) .... $14.00
Children (15 and under) ..... $8.00
Must be 4' or taller to take the Boeing Tour.
Online Advance Ticketing:
To guarantee tour times on your day of arrival, purchase your advance tickets online or through the call center. I would definitely recommend doing this to avoid long lines or not being able to take the tour on day/time of your choice.
Seattle is synonymous with Boeing, the leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft in the world. For the aviation enthusiast, no visit to Seattle is complete without visiting Boeing. Tours of Boeing are run every hour on the hour from 0900 hours to 1500 hours daily except holidays and costs $15 for adults. No cameras and cellphones are permitted on the tour and this is strictly enforced in view of the current security situation. However, photography is permitted in the Future of Flight exhibition.
I got to see the cavernous hangar where the Boeing 777s were being assembled. There were two Singapore Airlines B777s outside the paint hangar ready for delivery. Purchasing an aircraft is like purchasing a car - the buyer goes to the showroom to take delivery of the aircraft. I witnessed an Air New Zealand B777 being flown off.
The Boeing Tour
The Boeing Everett Factory Tour is simply overwhelming due to its location. You'll be standing in the largest building in the world by volume (472 million cubic feet) as you check out the airline manufacturers product line. The amazing thing is that the building is only one storey tall!
This smallish museum can still absorb a good three hours of your time, particularly if you really love reading about Boeing aeroplanes. It is located next to the Boeing factory, north of Seattle and in fact you can buy a combined ticket for the Boeing factory here and I think I saw buses for that tour leaving from here.
Entrance to the museum alone cost US$9 in July 2006.
One of the novelties of this museum is the little booths where you can design your own plane. It's a little simplistic and frustrating that you can't deck your plane out in the livery of your favourite airline or something, but kids would love it. You can print your plane afterwards on paper or on a t-shirt!
Even cooler than that, though, is the Boeing shop in the same building. I didn't notice it at first and when I did it was nearly too late, as I was getting picked up! Probably just as well as I may have spent far too much!
I can't remember if this is the largest building in the world or what, but it certainly is impressive. It's actually a fun tour. It's $5, starting off with a short movie presentation. Then you're transported to an underground tunnel and then taken up to the catwalks above so you can look down at them making their jets. It's really incredible, I must say! I highly reccommend this!
When going to Seattle don't miss the boeing tour. It's about a 1/2 hr drive from downtown Seattle and admission is $5/adult. A tour charhes $40/adult but you won't have to worry about car rental, parking or driving. You cannot take any photos inside the tour and there is a bit of walking . It is highly educational. You see the largest building by volume in the U.S and see just how planes are assembled, their cost, competitors history and other fun facts such as :( you have a choice of getting your 747 painted or left with the shiny aluminum outside. By painting you'll add 500-700 lbs without painting you'll be doing alot of polishing).A great informative tour.
We start our visit at the Future of Flight showcases the Boeing Company and the various jetliners it manufactures – the 747, 767 and 777. Comparisons between the original jetliners and the newest jetliner the 787 Dreamliner are awesome. A section of the Dreamliner fuselage sits next to an original PanAm fuselage dwarfing it. This new plane comes with all the latest bells and whistles. The 787’s aircraft cabin will be more comfortable with a cabin pressure of 6,500 feet instead of the current 8,500 feet. Our tour guide explains the lower cabin pressure will decreases the “feeling” of jetlag passengers experience. The interior will feature dynamic lighting and electronic window shades that allows passengers to adjust the transparency. Amazing!
The tour includes a bus trip around the plant where we view the largest building in the world by volume (472,000,000 cubic feet). The movie, tour of the flight areas, old war birds and planes is well worth it.
We had a great time touring this amazing plant and museum. There were several sections we visited where it would have been easy to spend more. Time - a "must do". We have an even better appreciation for airlines and airline trvel.
Visitors to the Museum can take a flight around Seattle in a vintage biplane, this is offered during Spring and Summer only. Olde Thyme Aviation, operates this fleet of open cockpit aircraft.
Private Tours are available also.. and they have a limited number of wheelchairs, if you require one. The Museum of flight is a great experience for the kids too.
The Boeing factory, located north of Seattle, was the primary attraction for me to this part of the world. The chance to have a personal, ground-level walking tour of the factory with my uncle who was working there on a short term assignment for my country's national carrier, was too fantastic to pass up. For an aeroplane enthusiast, the Boeing factory could be compared to Mecca! To be able to walk around this enormous building and get up close and personal with Boeing 777s in various states of assembly was something I’ll never forget. This place is the scene of aviation history in the making and I was intrigued by how blasé the workers seemed to be about what they were doing. They were constructing beautiful machines that can soar between continents. Standing beside a Boeing worker as he riveted a fuselage together and I jammed my fingers in my ears; looking at a nearly completed wing and listening to my uncle tell me about the surprisingly multi-faceted aspects of wing design (they look so simple, but it’s all about lift); and standing near a group of electricians as they wired up a tangle of spaghetti-like cables, was all just awesome.
Despite being not allowed to take photographs, or rather because of the lack of the distraction a camera can create, I have vivid memories of my walk around the Boeing factory. It was the highlight of my trip and something I’ll probably never be able to do again.
To top off the experience inside the factory, I was thrilled to get a first hand look over Air New Zealand’s newest addition to the fleet – ZK-OKF. Sitting in the cockpit brought back memories of a more innocent time when passengers could relieve the boredom of a long haul flight by visiting the pilots for a chat and a view of things upfront. I wonder if we’ll ever regain that? The romance of flight is part of the thrill I get in seeing the big Boeings up close and personal. The Boeing factory tour for some may not be as cool as what I experienced, but if you love these magnificent machines, then make sure you go.
If you have the slightest interest in Aviation, you must visit the Boeing assembly plant here. It is the largest building (by volume) in the world. This is where they assemble the 747s and 777s.