After a lengthy hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boeing Factory Tours are back, offering aviation enthusiasts and curious minds a chance to witness the magic of aircraft production.
For years, the Boeing Factory Tour has been a sought-after experience, attracting more than six million visitors from around the globe since its inception in 1968. The tour provides a glimpse into the fascinating world of aviation, with a behind-the-scenes look at the assembly line of iconic Boeing aircraft, which included the 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.
Christi Medlyn, Boeing Future of Flight general manager, shared the excitement surrounding the reopening with Business Traveler USA.
“We’ve been closed for the tour portion of the experience for three and a half years. In the meantime, we invested in this space to give people a great brand experience for Boeing. It’s not just about airplane manufacturing; it’s about the full enterprise,” she explained.
A Renewed Factory Tour
Boeing’s Future of Flight location has undergone a transformation over the past few years to complement the factory tour. It now offers an immersive experience that covers various aspects of Boeing’s operations, including sustainable fuels, autonomous flight, and satellite technology.
In addition, hands-on activities and STEM learning opportunities have been introduced, allowing visitors to engage with drones and robots.
Visitors will notice several enhancements to the Boeing Factory Tour experience. The new route through the factory offers a unique perspective, taking guests from the Boeing Future of Flight Museum to the massive Everett factory, where tens of thousands of employees support airplane production.
The tour also includes access to the site’s underground system of factory tunnels and an observation balcony providing an exclusive, sweeping view of the current 777 assembly line where Boeing’s future flagship, the 777X, will also be manufactured. Lufthansa and Emirates are the first two airlines expecting to take delivery of the new variant of the Triple Seven.
Furthermore, visitors are treated to a comfortable bus tour that takes them through various sections of the airport tarmac. The journey starts from the area where new planes are fueled for the first time and continues to where Boeing 737 fuselages arrive on train wagons from Wichita, Kansas.
Sometimes, brand-new Boeing 777s without engines can be spotted, and other rare planes like Boeing 767 military tankers can be seen as they are prepared for delivery. During every portion of the tour, a knowledgeable guide provides detailed explanations of every aspect and responds to any questions from curious visitors.
However, the tour isn’t the only attraction. Boeing Future of Flight features the Boeing Gallery, showcasing nearly 150 past, current, and future Boeing products and services, including the intriguing Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) or personal flying car.
The Above and Beyond exhibit offers immersive simulations, and visitors can snap selfies with the Destiny Module from the International Space Station.
The open-air Sky Deck provides breathtaking views of Paine Field, the factory, and the enchanting North Cascade Mountains in the distance. It’s not unusual to spot brand-new planes parked on the deck, preparing for their journey into the skies.
And for those looking to take home a piece of aviation memorabilia, the Boeing store offers a wide range of souvenirs, from sweatshirts to scale model jets, coffee mugs, and vintage Boeing pilot jackets for kids and adults.
The reopening of the Boeing Factory Tours has been met with overwhelming demand. Visitors have expressed their excitement and appreciation for the improved experience.
“It has been overwhelmingly positive, as we have been sold out every day. The pent-up demand and excitement around our product has been contagious. We are pleased with the positive visitor reviews received so far,” Christi Medlyn said.
“We’ve invested in every aspect of the experience, from the script to the exhibit content. We’ve added new elements and updated the storytelling.”
“Even though the experience is a bit different from the last time, we have made significant investments in every aspect. You will see the difference even while walking down the booth hallways,” Medlyn added.
Focus on the Boeing 777
While the tour has shifted its focus from the 747 to the 777 experience, it continues to captivate visitors, old and new, with its rich history and innovations in the world of aviation.
With the entire assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner now operational at Boeing’s South Carolina plant, the facility at Paine Field is exclusively dedicated to the Triple Seven family of planes. This includes the present 777 Freighter, along with the new 777X, along with the occasional 767 Freighter.
“After the 747 and the 787 were no longer being manufactured in Paine Field, we had to alter our route,” Medlyn explained. “As a result, we are now focusing on improving the 777 experience while incorporating new elements that highlight the entire family of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. We aim to discuss sustainability and introduce fresh perspectives to our storytelling.”
“So, we looked at everything from the script to the exhibit content. We added a little bit of Boeing history that you’ll see in the theater experience through a video at the beginning of the tour.”
Whether you’re a seasoned aviation enthusiast or just curious about the marvels of flight, the Boeing Factory Tours are ready to deliver an unforgettable experience you’ll be eager to share with your friends for months to come.
So, mark your calendars, aviation fans, because this is a rare opportunity to step inside the world of Boeing, where dreams of flight become reality. The Everett factory, Boeing’s crown jewel, is ready to inspire and educate once again.