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Flying on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the First Time

ANA's first 787 Dreamliner (JA801A) sits in the background at their second (JA802A) waits to take us for a ride.

ANA's first 787 Dreamliner (JA801A) sits in the background at their second (JA802A) waits to take us for a ride.

When I first started this blog a little over three years ago, I never thought I would be one of the first people to ever fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This truly is a dream (liner) come true.

A nice little rainbow surprise when boarding the ANA 787 Dreamliner. This is not a standard lighting configuration, but it sure is groovy.

A nice little rainbow surprise when boarding the ANA 787 Dreamliner. This is not a standard lighting configuration, but it sure is groovy.

Over the years, I have closely followed the 787, through its many ups and downs and I was honored to be invited to Tokyo to take an excursion flight around Japan. The night before the flight I received little sleep and was up at 4 am, like a kid on Christmas.

JA802A is begging to go for a ride.

JA802A is begging to go for a ride.

On Wednesday, October 27th, the 787 Dreamliner (JA801A) had its first revenue flight from Narita International Airport (NRT) to Hong Kong International Airport (HGK), but my experience was a bit different. Our flight was on JA802A, ANA’s second 787, which took off from NRT and experienced a 90 minute excursion, including flying over Mount Fuji — pretty rad.

We are on our way. Even though I did not have a window seat, I could see outside quite well. A Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-400 at Narita can be seen.

We are on our way. Even though I did not have a window seat, I could see outside quite well. A Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-400 at Narita can be seen.

I had been on JA802A just a few weeks prior, while it sat at Paine Field, but this was much different. The energy being on JA802A with “real” passengers, when we are about ready to lift off was palatable. The flight contained some ANA VIP customers, representatives that ANA works closely with, the winners of ANA’s 787 photo contest and only four media representatives.

I was sitting in 9D, which is the inner aisle seat on the left side (SeatGuru.com already has its ANA 787 seating chart up), but I still had ample opportunity to look out the 787’s larger windows.

The plane will filled with a mixture of different people. I had seat 9D, which was the left side aisle seat.

The plane was filled with a mixture of different people. I had seat 9D, which was the left side aisle seat.

“Please be seated, we are about to take off,” never sounded so good. After a short taxi, the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines started to spool up and what a glorious sound. Do not worry, it stayed very quiet in the cabin, but you could still enjoy the unique sound that the Dreamliner engines provide.

The 787’s take off was a smooth experience and I didn’t feel pinned to my seat, like on many other aircraft. The sound and ease of take off, felt very similar to the A380 (but the 787 was a bit quicker). As we lifted off, the passengers clapped and cheered — we were off!

This photo does not do the wing justice. The bend is MUCH more impressive in person.

This photo does not do the wing justice. The bend is MUCH more impressive in person.

I was really looking forward  to seeing how the 787’s wing looked from inside the cabin while flying. The good news is it looked as cool as I was hoping; the bad news was the photo does not do it justice. The wing had an unbelievable bow, like I have never seen before. Airlines really should put a sign at the windows over the wings that state, “The wings are supposed to do that.” I can’t wait to see what they look like in turbulence.

I should have drank more water before the flight so I could have tried out the bathroom with a window. Just took photos instead.

I should have drunk more water before the flight so I could have tried out the bathroom with a window. Just took photos instead.

The flight was only 90 minutes and that didn’t leave a heck of a lot of time. I was up and down the aisles taking photos and videos, checking the views outside, the lavatory with a view and playing around with the in-flight entertainment system. I could have been on the plane for ten hours and still wanted more.

Mount Fuji as seen from ANA's second 787 Dreamliner (JA802A)

Mount Fuji as seen from ANA's second 787 Dreamliner (JA802A)

So, the big question is, “Was it what you thought it was going to be?” Yes — the Dreamliner is an incredible aircraft that will evolutionize air travel for many passengers. On paper, I think the Dreamliner will help to revolutionize airline transport due to a large leap in technology, efficiency and cabin comfort, but for most passengers they aren’t going to notice all the changes — but that is not a bad thing.

Sticker on the Dreamliner! Don't worry ANA, I took it down :).

Check the AirlineReporter.com sticker on the Dreamliner! Don't worry ANA, I took it down.

For me and probably for most of you airline fans, the changes will easily be noticed. However, for the average passenger, they will feel the 787 just provided them with a great flight, but might not realize why.  When airlines moved from props to jets, it was quite obvious of large change, but it is not as obvious with the 787 Dreamliner.

Narita International Airport, as seen from the 787 Dreamliner.

Haneda Airport, as seen from the 787 Dreamliner.

All that being said, I firmly believe the 787 Dreamliner will be the new standard in world travel. It is comfortable, quiet and beautiful. I feel that this aircraft will make many frequent fliers change their top airline choices based on the Dreamliner product.

My first flight on the Dreamliner was unreal, but I can’t wait to try one of a real, “normal,” scheduled flight to put it to the real test. It is great to think that in only a few short years, these Dreamliners will be flying all over the world — a world that I am excited to experience.

After landing back at Narita, I really did not want to get off the 787, but they made me.

After landing back at Narita, I really did not want to get off the 787, but they made me.

SEE ALL 44 PHOTOS FROM MY FIRST BOEING 787 DREAMLINER FLIGHT

More Boeing 787 Dreamliner Stuff:
* Interior photo tour of JA802A while at Paine Field

* Jon Ostrower’s photos on his FlightBlogger site
* Photos and story from Ben M on USA Today
Chris Sloan, Airchive.com/2C Media
* Video and photos from Guy Norris with Aviation Week

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