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Fun times at the gate for the launch of United’s daily, direct service to London Heathrow (LHR) on a 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Kevin P Horn

United Airlines has been aggressively expanding its Denver hub over the last few years. Despite operating 471 flights a day and carrying 42% of traffic, the international routes have been limited to a few flights in Canada, a few south of the border, and the daily Dreamliner to Tokyo. Starting on March 24th, United re-launched, after a hiatus of a few years, seasonal, daily service to London Heathrow on a 787-8 as UA 27 and UA 26.

We were there for the inaugural flight and celebration for this exciting new route. This flight makes for three carriers serving London at once, with Denver’s biggest airline continuing expansion at the airport.

Condor Inaugural San Diego arrival - photo: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Condor inaugural San Diego arrival – Photo: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Recently, I had the opportunity to take my first ever inaugural flight. Condor inaugurated twice-weekly service nonstop from Frankfurt to San Diego and they were kind enough to allow me to tag along. This was a special trip for me, as I rarely get the opportunity to fly internationally in anything but economy class, as more opulent flying is typically not in my budget.

Not only was this a big deal for me, but this new connection to Europe is a big deal for the city of San Diego and the 3 million plus people in the metropolitan area. With the new flight, Condor becomes just the second nonstop connection to Europe, and first by a leisure airline. 

An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8

An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8

This story has been updated to include new information about the availability of premium economy and anticipated dates for domestic operations.

American Airlines today announced new details and routes for its newest addition to the fleet, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789), which is set to arrive in the last quarter of this year. While American already operates 17 Boeing 787-8s (788s), four of the stretched -9s, with new business class seats and a cabin configuration to include a new Premium Economy section, will be delivered by the end of December 2016, with a total of 22 on order.

The 789s will initially be based out of American’s home base, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), and on November 4 will commence service to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU).

AirlineReporter has received exclusive details on the inaugural route the 789 will actually fly…