Aviation gearheads and nostalgia buffs will think they woke up in heaven should they make to the Boeing Company's store in Everett, Washington. One of 16 listed Boeing stores (www.boeingstore.com) but one of the few open to the public, this fairly sizable, well-stocked, two-level retail outlet is an aviation buff's delight.
I stopped in on a recent visit to Seattle, where Cathay Pacific Airways took delivery of a new Boeing 777-300ER and decided to throw a party to celebrate the sleek aircraft. Some of us journos were on the party list. Part of that entailed a visit to the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett, 25 miles north of Seattle. The store is located inside the sprawling center - an interactive aviation museum.
I am not a serious gearhead and I don't memorize minutae like the hottest fighter planes of World War II, but I loved this store. I even bought something - a relative rarity for this confirmed non-shopper. It was a gorgeous $40 hardcover book, profusely illustrated with colorful vintage ads - many by now-vanished airlines like Pan Am and TWA - that airlines commissioned through most of the 20th century to spark air travel around the world. You see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Diamond Head and many other glamourous sights, all designed to entice travelers onto airplanes. I spent maybe 10 minutes leafing through the volume and couldn't put it down. The title? Oh, the title: ''The Art of the Airways,'' by Geza Szurovy, published by Minneapolis's Zenith Press (www.zenithpress.com).
There is, of course, much more merchandise on offer, most of it available online as well as in the brick and mortar store. Items range from a $4USD 1930s Boeing flight
pin to $295USD leather flight jackets. Luggage, posters, caps, the inevitable T-shirts, apparel and much more are available, too. If flying holds any romance at all for you, this is the place. Check it out.