Welcome to day one of scheduled commercial service at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. The new terminal opened this week with plenty of fanfare from the local community and a passenger experience that easily scores among the top airports in the USA. I was in town to partake in the celebrations and then board the first flight sold to the public departing from the new facility.
Commercial service is not entirely new, but it has not existed for decades. Indeed, getting the necessary approvals and sign-offs to restart the service has been generations in the making. And it certainly felt like a proper grand opening celebration throughout the day.
From the (slightly comical and mildly failed) christening of the building, an off-script play by Propeller Airports CEO Brett Smith …
… to the ribbon cutting …
Did we have a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new @FlyPaineField terminal? ✂️ You betcha!
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) March 4, 2019
… the traditional water salute from the Paine Field ARFF team, the entire morning was packed with festivities.
We also got a quick visit to the ramp for some exterior shots airside of the facility. Not surprisingly, it looks an awful lot like an airport.
We watched as the first departure headed out to Portland – this was effectively a charter flight; no seats were sold to the public – and then boarded our E175 to Las Vegas.
Passengers received goodie bags, including a chocolate bar and awesome pin to commemorate the event.
The pilot made a few announcements on board regarding the historic nature of the departure, and then we were off.
The flight itself was normal enough, though also with the excitement and quirks that inaugurals bring to life. Passengers talked to each other on board rather than doing everything possible to avoid such contact. Stories were shared and in at least a couple cases people who only previously knew each other online finally met in real life.
Celebrations continued after that first flight, with the return departure to PAE feted in the gate area. For us, however, the party was over.
So, uhhh, anyone want one of the goodie kits from the first flight? I might have a spare picked up as I was getting off the plane.
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