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Boeing 787 Dreamliner; New Hotel Concepts

Aired July 14, 2007 - 12:30:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Concorde gave us the dream of speed. Air Force One, the dream of power. And the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet, the dream of travel for the people. Now let's take it to the next level, let's the dream into the future.
Hello, and welcome to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER. I'm Richard Quest, this month reporting from the Boeing factory just outside Seattle. I'm here because of this giant, the 787 Dreamliner, the latest plane to be revealed by Boeing.

They are calling this a game-changing aircraft that will revolutionize our traveling life. Well, over the course of this program, we will be looking at the Dreamliner and asking, what is the fuss all about?

Also coming up.


QUEST (voice-over): Lighter, brighter, quieter and more comfortable than ever before, is the 787 Dreamliner every traveler's flying fantasy?

New ways to think about old hotels.

And life on the road that is not a pain in the neck. Tips and tricks to take the trauma out of traveling.


QUEST: Completely new aircraft come along very rarely. And that is the significance of why everyone is so excited by the Dreamliner. That and the fact it has been so successful in such a short period of time.

It really makes us ask what the fuss is all about. Why are they saying that the Dreamliner is a game-changing aircraft?


QUEST (voice-over): This is the moment for which the aviation world holds its breath. The first glimpse of a brand new plane. It's the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and it is something special.

The fastest-selling off-the-plan aircraft in history. It promises to get us from A to B more efficiently, quietly and comfortably than ever before.

(on camera): There is much about this new plane that is exciting and different to look at. You will be able to recognize it immediately when it comes to an airport near you.

For instance, look at the nose, the sleek drop is far stronger than you normally see. And there is almost no rivets along the side. It is simply smooth because of the composite material and the way the plane is put together.

The wings, too, are absolutely beautiful, raking up, and then disappearing off into the distance with a curve.

(voice-over): This is a medium-sized plane with big ambitions. It will carry up to 250 people. But it has very long-haul range. So it will open up new destinations, the so-called long, thin routes that airlines are now cultivating.

This is a plane that carries the future of Boeing on its wings.

JIM MCNERNEY, CHMN., PRES. & CEO, BOEING: To make the world a smaller place, and in so doing, bringing all of us closer together.

QUEST: Physically, the Dreamliner is a very type of plane too. It is made mainly from composite materials, not metal. It is light, very strong and very fuel-efficient, up to 20 percent better than current aircraft.

SCOTT CARSON, EXECUTIVE V.P., BOEING: We knew that we had to design a product with the deep appreciation and concern for the environment and for airport communities.

QUEST: The differences don't stop there. Another groundbreaking change is in the way the Dreamliner is built. Instead of manufacturing the plane on a production line in Seattle, major components are already built overseas and shipped to Everett. They are simply bolted together Lego- style.

The most controversial parts are the wings which are now manufactured in Japan. They are flown to Seattle inside the massive Boeing Dreamlifter. A move that initially caused deep worry amongst traditionalists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world has changed. And certainly free trade and globalization has made the world a very, very different place. It isn't good enough to be a net exporter anymore, sell you product. It doesn't matter if you are European or of American, sell your product abroad. Abroad wants to participate.

QUEST: From the very start airlines have voted in favor of this plane. They have been buying it by the dozen. Six hundred and seventy- seven have already been sold. And it is the most successful plane so far at this stage.

CHEW CHOON SENG, CEO, SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Well, if it delivers on all its design targets and what Boeing promises, it will be a game-changer.

QUEST: Amongst the biggest customers are the aircraft leasing companies. ILFC is the biggest. It has bought 74 of the aircraft. They will be rented out to airlines around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The airline industry has been under tremendous cost pressure because of the high price of fuel which now represents as much as a third of the direct operating costs of a jet airplane.

And then, of course, we have environmental concerns. And in both areas, the 787 is a tremendous step forward.

QUEST: The Dreamliner's popularity is all the more remarkable given that fact that this mock-up is all airline executives have had to go on before signing on the dotted line. At the forefront of cabin design, this cathedral-like entranceway is intended to help you leave the woes of the airport behind you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are doing here is we are creating a sense of great height.

QUEST (on camera): Yes, it is huge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . to welcome you. As you come in, you have been compressed, as an architect we call it, in the jet way, and now you are released.

QUEST (voice-over): The Dreamliner now goes into eight months of intense flight testing. The first commercial model is supposed to be delivered to the launch customer ANA by May.

It is an extremely ambitious time scale for a plane that has so much untested technology.

MIKE BAIR, 787 PROGRAM GENERAL MANAGER & EVP, BOEING: We have done a lot of risk reduction testing already in the program to eliminate things that typically happen to you in flight tests. We understand how we have structured the program. We have got a lot of confidence that we are going to get this thing done and done on time.

QUEST: Thousands of Boeing employees witnessed the launch of the Dreamliner. Now with the orders pouring in, they know their jobs are safe.


QUEST: Try as hard as they can, airlines can never really replicate the wonderful feeling of a good hotel bed.

What do you think, Sleepy (ph)?

Coming up after the break, "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." The hotel bedrooms that feel like home, that is because they are, in just a moment.


QUEST: Welcome back to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER in Seattle. This is a very familiar scene to any business traveler, another hotel lobby in another city. This year I will spend about 250 days on the road. It often seems like I never lay my head twice on the same pillow.

It can all get a little bit wearying. Thankfully today there are some new different, and very imaginative ways to look at hotels.


QUEST (voice-over): Qbic is a self-service hotel. You get one keycard on check-in, and you are free to come and go as you please. There is not even reception desk, just a roaming concierge.

The hotel is based on the low-cost airline model, the earlier you book, the cheaper your room. At around $53 a night, it is low cost, but unlike the airborne cousin, it is high in style.

The man behind the concept believes in having both.

PAUL RINKENS, FOUNDER, QBIC: Budget doesn't have to mean that it looks cheap. So we really thought that for our guests it should have a good environment and a good look and feel.

QUEST: There are more style surprises after you have checked in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm used to normal hotel rooms with a big bed and a separate bathroom and this is something different. I visit hotels a lot and it is practically always the same. So it is nice to be surprised by a completely new idea.

The connection to Schiphol is only five or 10 minutes maybe, so if you fly in, you don't have to go into the city, this is the central business area of Amsterdam.

QUEST: Qbic calls their bed and bathroom structure a "cubi (ph)." They say it can be assembled anywhere.

RINKENS: The only think you have to do is plug it into the plumbing and wire it up and make sure that you have got warm and cold water.

QUEST: With plans for 15 cities in the next five years, this hotel plans to become "Qbic-itous."

It is all getting just a little bit claustrophobic in airports these days. For a pint-sized oasis of calm, there is now Yotel!. It's a micro- stay hotel inspired from outside the industry.

It offers airplane-style beds and railway carriage windows, which are all intended to evoke the premium travel experience tasted by its founder.

SIMON WOODROFFE, FOUNDER, YOTEL!: I was lucky enough to get upgraded coming back from Kuwait to British Airways first class when the flat-bed had just come out. So I lay on that flat-bed and I woke up the next morning and thought, this is what I want to do, is find the guy who designed the flat-bed and to build a hotel in the language and the style and the feel of first class travel on airplanes, which we all aspire to.

And of course, the bit I love on first class on the airplanes is when you press the bed.

QUEST: Airport hotels offering short stays are nothing new. But the idea of purpose-building the space for micro-stays certainly is. Yotel!'s first venture is inside London's Gatwick Airport. Fifty dollars buys you four hours in a standard room. And you can extend the time as you need.

WOODROFFE: We are trying to get 250 percent occupancy, because we will be able to sell -- especially here at the airports, we will be able to sell the rooms two, three times a day. And that is the real key. We have got a business model that completely turns hotels upside down.

QUEST: The cabins at Yotel! are everything you would expect from the people behind Yo! Sushi: immediately available, neat, and in rather small helpings. And talking of food, there is even an aircraft-style galley to keep guests fed and watered.

Across the airport concourse, another kitchen in another hotel. This time at the big end of town, where Gatwick's existing hoteliers aren't too concerned about the bite-sized rival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel that it is a competitor in the true sense of the word. I think it just adds to the services at Gatwick. I think there is more than enough demand at Gatwick, more than enough capacity to accommodate another 60 or so rooms that are probably providing a service far more to the transient passenger.

QUEST: If successful, Yotel! plans expansion to London's Heathrow, New York's Kennedy, and Amsterdam's Schiphol. And city center destinations will follow.

Another concept trying to lay the foundations for global expansion is GuestInvest, it is the U.K.'s first buy-to-let hotel room business. To enter this room, the prices start at just over half a million dollars. But that does include 52-nights-a-year stay included, room, not board, if you will.

And when you are not using that room, the hotel lets it out to paying guests, then splits the proceeds. The idea is simple, earn money while others sleep. And it is the brainchild of the developer Johnny Sandelson.

JOHNNY SANDELSON, FOUNDER & CEO, GUESTINVEST: We are never going to be offering more than 1,000 or 2,000 units a year. But what we do have is a very strong market and desire among some consumers to want to buy into the London property market, and especially the hotel sector.

So it is not for everyone, but we have got a database of 35,000 and growing of people who are interested in it, and we want to satisfy that demand.

QUEST: This is a new niche which seems to be doing well. Sandelson opened his first hotel three years ago, and since then, investors have shared in London's property price boom, with returns of nearly 7 percent a year.

This, though, is risky, like all investments are. And analysts advice treading carefully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at the end of a very strong economic boom, lots of people who come to the capital and stay in hotels. But if that falls for any reason, like maybe there is an economic slowdown, or there could be, you know, God forbid, more terrorist activity, what have you, that would certainly hit hotel occupancy and possibly then room rates.

QUEST: Life on the road will never be like staying at home. But at least these days there are more ways than ever to make it more affordable, more comfortable and colorful than ever before.

The key thing is to think of hotels differently. They are there to serve your different needs, whatever they may be, whenever they may be.


QUEST: Coming up after the break, ideas to make traveling on the road a little bit easier. How to take the clutter out of shaving.


QUEST: Welcome back to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER. Every month we get sent loads of ideas of claims that will help to make your traveling life much easier. We have decide to put some of these products to the test and give you our honest opinion about whether they work.


QUEST: This month it is the ShaveMate Titan, which claims to get rid of a lot of the clutter from your wash bag. It is basically a razor with in-built shaving foam. According to the instructions, you switch it on, give it a good shake, and you are away.

That part seems to work so far. It is not clear how many shaves you actually get from this. So.


The razor is much better than most of those provided by hotels in an emergency. It has got three blades and a swivel head. If you are like me, and often carrying a big can of gel, it can weigh you down, particularly when hand luggage allowance is at such a premium, this is a very nifty idea.


QUEST: And, mmm (ph), rather smooth.


QUEST: Shave number three.


QUEST: Shave number four.


QUEST: This is shave number five.


QUEST: All right. We have got to speed this up a bit. Shave number six.

Shave number seven.

Shave number eight.

Shave number nine.

Shave number 10. Starting to run out.

Shave number 11. So 11 shaves from this Titan ShaveMate. I think this gets the thumb's up. I like this gadget.


QUEST: Here in Seattle, where the Puget Sound is never far away, you have got to be a bit careful, often the weather here is overcast and damp. In the summer, look forward to clear blue skies and crisp temperatures.

What else do you need to know about Seattle. Here is the CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER "Fact File."


QUEST (voice-over): Seattle is in the northwestern United States. With a population nearly 2 million, it is the main city of Washington State. The major employers include Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks.

Seattle is a wealthy city. The median household income is $67,000, that is 50 percent more than the U.S. average.

Seattle-Tacoma, or Sea-Tac, is the name of the city's main airport. You can get there on non-stop international flights from Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei in Asia. From Europe there are non-stops from Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam, and Paris.


QUEST: Here is a slippery fellow, the sort that you might meet at the Pike Place Fish Market. They have been doing this sort of thing here for nearly 100 years. In fact, the market celebrates its centenary anniversary in August.

Pike Place is one of the must-see visits if you are in Seattle, especially if you are here from sunrise to sunset.


QUEST (voice-over): Pike Place sells a bit of everything, with farmers and craftspeople setting up stalls. The fresh fruit is delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try this, this is a local-grown strawberry.

QUEST (on camera): Oh, I say, that is really sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that good?

QUEST (voice-over): It can get very crowded indeed. Get here early. Get the best buys.

As you would expect from the city that likes to think of itself as the home of America's coffee, there is even somewhere special to have that cup of java.

(on camera): A bit of local modern history, the original Starbucks is here in Pike Place, established in 1971, now just about everywhere.

(voice-over): Seeing Seattle from the ground is one thing, to really appreciate it, I have got to get up in the air. And the best way to see the beautiful scenery is to take a seaplane ride.

(on camera): There really can't be any better way to see this beautiful part of America than by (INAUDIBLE) plane, just about 1,200 feet over the Puget Sound with a guided tour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are now approaching the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. The Space Needle is 605 feet tall and is today's.

QUEST (voice-over): The unique combination of mountains, water, and a bohemian attitude has made Seattle one of the 20th Century's most significant artistic communities.

The founding father of modern glassblowing, Dale Chihuly, has his impressive studio here.

DALE CHIHULY, GLASS SCULPTOR: We never work on one project at a time. We are usually working on about eight or 10.

It is going to be kind of flower shape. You will see it when it opens up, it will go from being perfectly symmetrical to something very organic if all goes like it should.

QUEST: I have watched, now time to try.

CHIHULY: Slowly, slowly, that is it. Go ahead and blow.

QUEST (on camera): A lot of blowing and twisting, isn't there?

CHIHULY: Yes. It is (INAUDIBLE). It is done.



QUEST: Thank you very much!

(voice-over): You can't come to Seattle and miss visiting one of the city's more modern landmarks. This is the Space Needle, built in 1962 for the World's Fair, the needle is a 600-foot tourist attraction, with observation decks, and even, heh, that rotating restaurant.

From sunrise to sunset, the Space Needle.


QUEST: It is a magnificent chance to enjoy some good local seafood, and, of course, the spectacular views

And that is CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER for this month. I'm Richard Quest, reporting from Seattle. Time to enjoy my dinner. But remember, wherever your travels may take you, I hope it is profitable. And I will see you next month. Bon appetit.