United Boeing 787 Inaugural Is a Go
Chicago based United Airlines has completed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process for its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, powered by two wing mounted GEnx-1B engines.
United will make its inaugural 787 flight on Sunday, November 4, 2012, as United Flight 1116 from Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). If you’re interested in hopping on this historic flight, seats are still available starting at $521 USD one-way.
The flight is scheduled to depart Houston Intercontinental (IAH) at 7:20am CST and arrive Chicago O’Hare (ORD) at 9:51am with a travel time of two hours and thirty-one minutes, gate to gate.
If you plan on taking the flight or doing some plane spotting, don’t forget daylight savings time ends in the United States on Sunday, November 4th at 2:00am, with clocks falling back by one hour.
United 787 Dreamliner Certification Process
United Airlines received their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, tail number N20904, in Houston on September 28th. The aircraft went through a month-long certification process with United pilots taking the plane around the world and into airports including Iceland’s Keflavik International (KEF), Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), and Tokyo-Narita (NRT), as well as US domestic airports from San Francisco (SFO), Newark Liberty (EWR), and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD).
These proving flights totaled over 100 flight hours with the aircraft completing test scenarios from diversions to simulated mechanical problems.
In a November 2nd statement, United’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek, said, “I want to thank my co-workers who worked so carefully and professionally to get United certified to operate the Dreamliner.” Smisek continued, “Many people from across the company put in a lot of work to help us induct and prepare to operate the 787, and I’m proud to share this important day with all of them.”
United 787 Dreamliner Specifications and Information
The airline has received two of 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners it has on order. The aircraft is configured with 36 seats in United’s BusinessFirst, 70 in Economy Plus, and 113 in regular economy.
Regardless of where one is seated on the Boeing 787, the aircraft is revolutionary between new anti-turbulance technology, large windows, LED mood lighting, and most importantly, the aircraft cabin is pressurized at 6,000 feet above sea level, providing more humidity and comfort.
Most commercial aircraft only pressurize their cabins to 8,000 feet above sea level. At 8,000 feet, the air is thinner, drier, and contributes to a jetlaged feeling many get. At 6,000 feet, the air is more humid and overall is a better environment for the body, especially on long-haul flights.
When it comes to the environment and operating costs, the 787 is efficient – made of a lighter, carbon composite material instead of aluminum, it weighs less and uses more efficient engines. In the case of United, General Electric GEnx-1B engines.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways was the launch customer of the Boeing 787 and recently celebrated the first anniversary of Boeing 787 service. ANA currently has sixteen of the aircraft in their fleet.
United Airlines is the world’s largest airline.