On Friday, March 18th an impressive welcoming committee at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport celebrated the first arrival of Flight MU717. China Eastern Airlines’ new daily direct service between O’Hare International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport on a Boeing 777-300ER. Later on that evening the celebration continued at VENUESIX10 in Chicago. A lively crowd of over 175 guests in attendance got to experience China Eastern Airlines’ world class hospitality and be introduced to the features and amenities of the Boeing aircraft. In attendance at both events were a mix of local officials, executives from major corporations, local and Chinese press, travel agents and travel industry experts, as well as local influencers from top cultural and civic organizations in Chicago.
The program included a ceremonial water salute for the inaugural arriving flight from Shanghai, a ribbon cutting, and presentations from Commissioner Ginger S. Evans, Chicago Department of Aviation; Consul General Zhao Weiping, The People’s Republic of China; and Chief Marketing Officer Dong Bo, China Eastern Airlines.
The theme of design and cultural ambitions was created to highlight CEA’s unique connection to both Shanghai and Chicago in order to standout from the competition. CEA is the Chinese airline that can claim a genuine connection between Shanghai and Chicago (Sister Cities since 1985 as well as closely tied business and cultural ambitions) and highlight the value of good design in the CEA experience (cabin design and training of the flight attendants).
The theme was expressed by evolving the CEA brand look and feel through the ‘Ni Hao Chicago/Hello Shanghai’ identity development.
Additionally, the guests were treated to a professional and personal presentation from Benjy Ward, Principal and Architect with Gensler [the largest architecture firm in the world as well as the architects of the recently completed Shanghai Tower] who spoke of his business and personal experiences of Shanghai as well as the amazing places and people he encountered in China – thanks to China Eastern Airlines routes. He also spoke about good design in creating an elevated flying experience from cabin design to airports.
Guests were able to experience a virtual reality tour of the 777-300ER cabins and 360 fly throughs of Shanghai and Chicago’s landmarks. We travelled to Shanghai and shot the 360 sequences downtown at dawn with a drone. For the sequences in Chicago we utilized the famous Architectural river tour as the backdrop for our 360 shoot. We then stitched the content together and built a custom app that was used in the oculus system so viewers could experience both cities and a 360 tour of the 777-300ER cabin interiors.
Each guest received a limited edition 13 color screen print art gift celebrating CEA, Chicago and Shanghai. Created by Internationally recognized artists SonnenZimmer.
As a result over 20 articles were posted about the route launch and introduction of the 777-300ER service, including this article from USA Today .