A few weeks ago, the 17 of us got the chance to visit Hangar 61 at Luton Airport, where all of TUI’s planes are taken for regular checks and refurbishments, similar to a car.
Although it is just a short bus ride away from TUI’s headquarters and still based in sunny Luton, we were all very excited for a Grad trip out. This was only added to when we had to go through security and have our passports checked. Feeling like we were going on holiday, we were escorted through to the Hangar, which due to us visiting in the winter months, was at pretty much full capacity. There was a Boeing 787 (Dreamliner), a 757 and two 737’s (one Thomson and one TUIFly plane). Luton is now the home of all of the plane refurbishments for TUI Group airlines, not just TUI UK&I, which means it’s always very busy having to schedule in so many planes every day!
The first plane we looked around was the 757, a medium sized, narrow bodied plane used to take our customers on both short-haul and mid-haul flights. It was amazing to see how a plane is put together, although maybe not so great for nervous flyers to see how thin an aeroplane actually is when it’s stripped out!
After a quick look around the 737’s, we moved on to the Dreamliner. This was in its full test stage, where all components are stripped and tested, so everything including the seats had been taken out, making the plane feel very empty. You don’t realise how big the plane actually is when you’re standing on the ground looking up at it, rather than getting on from the side. It was interesting to learn that roller balls are used to move luggage around in the hold, which only the Dreamliners in our fleet have. As well as chatting to the engineers about different parts of the plane, we also learnt that there are Cabin Crew bunks instead of luggage compartments at the back of the plane – bit of a weird concept that the crew could be sleeping above your head whilst on a Long-Haul flight!
Once the whole of the Hangar had been snapchatted and everyone had got the perfect Instagram shot, we headed back to Wigmore House full of knowledge of how another side of our business works. We all thoroughly enjoyed the tour and hope to visit again soon if they’ll let us back in. Special thanks go to Dave Grimwood, Base Maintenance Manager, for dealing with 17 grads’ questions and excitement!