I have been incommunicado for the past two weeks. May 27th, I boarded the Queen Mary 2 in New York with my husband to make a very civilized crossing of the Atlantic.
I had grand plans of daily posting. There would certainly be time. But, though computers were available in many spots throughout the liner, the Internet connection was painfully slow. After the first day, and ninety minutes trying to connect, I gave up. Herein is what I would have written:
We checked in at 2pm and by 2:20 we were sipping champagne on the veranda of our stateroom, overlooking lower Manhattan.
EFFICIENCY is spelled with all capital letters aboard the Queen Mary 2.
The crew is all smiles—surely not an easy task after just finishing a two hour turnover (the last guests depart the ship at 10am, while the new guests arrive at noon). Yet, everything sparkles and all is in place ready to welcome some 2600 passengers.
That afternoon I met an Englishman in the steam roomof the Canyon Ranch Spa aboard. For some reason he found it necessary to tell me what he thought of the differences between Airbus and Boeing planes, no doubt because he took some pride in the continents success of their airplanes (even though England is not part of the EU) as it competes with our home grown Boeing.
At any rate, the gentleman commented on how wasteful Americans were (he does not know that the USA does more recycling per capita than any other nation) and how, surely, the new 787, which is a long-distance flyer, would be a much less efficient airplane than the new behemoth created by Airbus. After all, because of its time in the air, it needs more than one crew: wasteful, wasteful, wasteful (any flights already carry multiple crews and have crew rest areas for long flights…this is nothing new, and certainly NOT confined to Boeing products).
Well, he was talking to the wrong person. I know something about Boeing aircraft and, in particular, the new 787.
It will be the most fuel efficient commercial carrier on the market. It will offer a lower cabin altitude: easier on dehydration and fatigue in the passenger. It will have larger windows to lessen the impression of being transported in a flying tunnel. It is pure, in a word, innovation. And, she’s svelte and beautiful: an critical detail if you’re a pilot. It’s important to look good.
My English friend’s last comment was about the cramped space the airlines offer and that if passengers would watch their weight (apparently he’d never seen so many obese people as he had in NYC) that there could be more room on airplanes. My English friend could barely keep the towel around his own waist, I might add. And, as for Airplane seat configuration: Boeing has nothing to do with this. How the plane is configured inside is strictly up to the airline. Blame your carrier.
My engineer-husband did the math on the fuel economy of the Queen Mary voyage (which the above Sir Walter “Really” has traveled upon multiple times so he can, as he put it, reduce his carbon foot print).
Each passenger is responsible for burning roughly 15 nautical miles per gallon. Sort of like driving a Range Rover from NYC to Southampton…not counting the time the car’s in the shop….
That’s about one gallon of fuel per second of travel for approximately 3200 nautical miles. Far less efficient than transporting all those people across the pond via 777, or any Airbus you might choose for that matter. In fact, more than 5 times more fuel per QM2 passengeris burned than for one who flys a Triple Seven (215 gallons per passenger on the ocean liner vs. 39 gallon per passenger on the airliner. Sir “Really” obviously had not done his homework, or simply had an axe to grind.
But I digress. The QM2 may not be the most efficient mode of transport there is, but efficiency is still in all caps in my book. I guarantee the food is better, the windows, larger, the jet-lag, less…and the passengers more entertaining.
Stay tuned for Day Two…