United Boeing 787 Dreamliner Nears Delivery
This September, United Airlines will have a brand spanking new aircraft in its fleet – one made of composites instead of aluminum. The new-build also has a special paint job, including a gold line with a swoop. The special livery is to signify Boeing and United working together, but when it comes to the real stuff, United will be flying Olympic Gold home to the United States as Team USA’s official airline of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The last time United had a “new build”, in the form of a brand spanking new aircraft, dates back over a decade to June 7, 1995, as I boarded a new United aircraft type with much excitement and fanfare. For many, it was like a kid in a candy store experience. On this day in 1995, it was the Boeing 777 I stepped onto. United was the launch customer of the 777 which has proven to be one of the most popular wide-bodies in the sky.
While United isn’t the launch customer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it is the United States launch carrier. Now that United has unveiled its new 787 Dreamliner, the lucky passengers and crew working the inaugural flight will encounter that kid in a candy store experience with the many new features this aircraft offers.
The airline has not announced what the first flights or routes will be. To get crews trained and familiar with the aircraft, the Dreamliner will likely start flying shorter US domestic routes. The first official route will be between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Lagos (LOS), a flight currently being operated with the Boeing 777. For those who’ve heard about plans for a Houston (IAH) to Auckland (AKL) flight, United has axed plans for this flight.
The airline has not announced a start-day on the Lagos route, but on March 31, 2013, United will launch the long-awaited Denver to Tokyo-Narita flight on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
The flight from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) is scheduled at 12 hrs and 5 minutes while the return flight from Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Denver International (DEN) is blocked at 10 hours and 50 minutes.
In addition to providing Denver with non-stop access to Tokyo, the flights are also timed allowing for convenient passenger connections.
United Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Seat Map
Benefits of Boeing 787
Just as the Boeing 777 revolutionized long-haul twin-jet flights, it is now more than 15 years later and the 787 Dreamliner will do the same through efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Freshly painted, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be delivered in September 2012. As United has firm orders for 50 of the Boeing 787 aircraft, with delivery by 2019, you can bet on seeing this aircraft across the United route network in the upcoming years.
The 787 will be a more comfortable ride for passengers with cabin pressure closer to sea level allowing for humidity in the cabin air. Typically aircraft are pressurized at 8,000 feet above sea level when in-flight – this allows the body to dehydrate quicker than normal and isn’t great for sleeping. The new-build Boeing 787 will will be pressurized at 7,000 feet. This may not seem like a lot, but it’ll make a significant difference in how you feel, combined with humidity, after a long-haul flight.
The aircraft is also unique in how it was built – instead of aluminum, lighter, stronger composite materials make-up much of the aircraft. The lighter aircraft combined with advanced engines provide greater long-haul range and significantly less fuel than similar sized aircraft.
The United 787-8 has a total of 219 seats and offer BusinessFirst and Economy Cabins. BusinessFirst is setup to seat 36, while the main economy cabin is split between 72 Economy Plus seats and another 111 seats with a regular economy seat pitch.
Once you step on-board, you’ll notice a more spacious aircraft with a new lighting system (including mood lights), huge windows, and there’ll be plenty of room to store luggage with larger overhead bins. Passengers will also have TV’s at each seat with audio/video on-demand.
Can’t find the window shade at the window seat? Press the dim button.