Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United, said, â€œAs the North American launch customer, we are delighted to be getting our first 787 Dreamliner. As we continue to build the worldâ€™s leading airline, we are excited for our customers and co-workers to experience this game-changing aircraft.â€
Oddly, the 787 will depart from Boeing Field (which is located south of Seattle), where most delivery flights for the 747, 767, 777 and 787 leave from Paine Field. Each airline has the option to decide how they will take delivery. Some do it very quietly and others throw a huge party. I would suspect that United would want to throw a huge party, but no word on what that might look like — yet.
Infographic on the 787 Dreamliner by United Airlines (CLICK FOR LARGER).
After arriving in Houston, the 787 and crew will go through a month-long training and certification program. The airline will also be flying the aircraft (without passengers) to some of their hubs to show it off.
“This 787 delivery represents the continuation in the more than 80-year partnership between our two companies,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “United now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner, the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built. It reinforces United’s commitment to be the world’s leading airline by providing unmatched fuel efficiency and passenger comfort.”
Currently, ANA, JAL and Ethiopian are the only airlines with 787s in service.Â LAN has taken delivery of their first one, but have not yet put it into service. It is exciting to see an American airline take delivery and soon enter this next generation aircraft into service.
LAN’s first Boeing 787 sits next to the Future of Flight in Everett, WA.
LAN Airlines became the fourth airline in the world and the first in the Americas to take delivery of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Lucky for me, I was invited to tag along (Note: LAN flew me down to Santiago, back to Seattle and provided a hotel).
Even though the LAN 787 took off from Everett, WA (where it was built) on Friday, August 31st, the celebration started earlier. There were quite a few journalists from South America who were flown in on Wednesday and the celebration started with a dinner boat cruise. I might have lived in Seattle for 14 years, but the city’s beauty always amazes me.
LAN’s 787 sits outside, while Boeing, LAN and media have dinner in the Future of Flight.
All day Thursday, media was invited to take a tour of the Boeing factory and get to know the surrounding area. I was not able to participate in the day events, but they were all things I have done/seen before. Not to say I don’t try to get back into the factory any chance I can.
Thursday night was the official delivery dinner, hosted by Boeing and took place on the gallery floor at the Future of Flight. Boeing always knows how to throw a celebration and this was no different. It was hard to recognize the gallery, especially with their white 747 being painted in LAN’s livery.
A movie was shown highlighting the development of LAN’s first 787. Upon conclusion of the video, the screen was raised, reveling the aircraft outside. Although media had a chance to go outside and take photos beforehand, this was the first time that most of the LAN employees saw their Dreamliner. The excitement is hard to describe.
Totally a typical evening hanging out on couches, drinking wine, while under a 787 Dreamliner.
There were a few more speeches, which were almost all in Spanish, so I just clapped when everyone else clapped and smiled when I heard “siete, ocho, siete” (seven eight seven in Spanish).
After dinner, the large glass door opened and we were able to enjoy cocktails outside, next to the aircraft. Couches were set up for people to relax, but many chose to stand while socializing and gazing at the new plane.
I did not end up leaving the Future of Flight until almost 1:30am — like I said, it was a great event. A big bonus was that I didn’t have to be back to Paine Field until 10:00am the next morning.
A delivery ceremony wouldn’t be complete without the classic ribbon cutting by executives.
Friday was the big day, but the delivery flight was not scheduled to depart until 5:00pm. Upon arrival, we had the opportunity to get on the plane and see the interior for the first time. Even though LAN’s new seating product had premiered on the 767 a few months prior, it was done more or less in secret and fully announced with the 787.
LAN’s entry way on the 787 wasn’t as dynamic as Qatar’s and a bit more like United’s. Sort of a mid-ground for providing a warm welcome, but not giving up too much space. LAN laid out the Business cabin in a 2-2-2 set up and the economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. I knew I was going to be spending about 12.5 hours in economy, so I made sure to check out the front of the plane as much as possible.
Business Class on LAN’s brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. More comfy than economy.
Although the seats are interesting, I always enjoy checking out the areas that most passengers will never see: the pilot’s rest area above the cabin in the front, the flight deck and the crew rest area, which are upgraded economy seats.
Airline customers have the choice to offer a rear sleeping area for crew (like on United’s 787). LAN opted for economy seats, that can recline, in a 2-3-2 layout by the window, that are curtained off and have a separate lighting zone than the rest of the cabin.
The pilot-crew rest area located above the main cabin, in the front.
After our interior tour we had about three hours to burn before departing Paine Field. My game plan was to work on the blog, while waiting for our flight to leave, but ran into a problem when trying to find my bag. I was one of the first to arrive at the Future of Flight (shocking, I know) and when I did, no one had put their carry-on bags down. The place where I put my bag (right by the security scanner) turned out to be the location for checked bags… oops. In my defense, there were not signs posted at the time.
The best seat in the house.
After searching through all the carry-ons multiple times and not finding mine, I figured it was picked up. The problem was all the checked bags were already scanned, loaded into crates and secured.Â I talked to three different people and two said there was no way could I get access to my bag and one said, “maybe.”
Luckily, I had my Passport on me, but my bag had my laptop and all my chargers for my phone and camera. I was nice and polite, but made it quite clear how happy I would be to have my bag.
About an hour later, a lovely woman came up to me saying that I could go with her to get my bag — I wanted to give her a hug. As an extra bonus, the bag search was down on the east-side of the airport and we were on the west side. I got to take a van ride around Paine Field and right down the flight line. Unfortunately I was not able to take photos, but I have the memories.
I am thankful I was able to carry my bag on, especially since my camera battery went out a few hours into the flight. Needless to say, that would have made PART 2 of this story very difficult.
My seat was 15A, but I had the whole row for sleeping.
Shortly after fetching my bag, it was time to board. We each had hand written tickets (my name was wrong, but whatever) and went through Boeing security (kind of like TSA, but nicer). Then it was time to board, get settled in seat 15A and prepare for a 12.5 hour flight to Santiago. Being able to have the experience to fly non-stop from Everett to Santiago on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner was truly a dream come true.
LAN’s first Boeing 787 sits next to the Future of Flight at Paine Field.
LAN Airlines first Boeing 787 has successfully been delivered to Santiago Chile. I have many photos to go through and things to write up, but for now, you can enjoy this little preview of the adventure.
We had a nice little circle flight over western Washington after take off. Image from FlightAware.com.
We took off a bit before 6pm PST from Paine Field and headed west. Anyone watching our flight route (seen above) might have been confused on what was going on. Turns out we had a chase plane film the 787 before heading south for the rest of our adventure (check this out).
Above is a video that was showing during the delivery ceremony that highlights the production of LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Not going to lie; it gave me goose bumps watching all the LAN employees viewing the video before being shown their aircraft for the first time.
Before landing we did a fly-by Comodoro Arturo Merino BenÃtez International Airport (SCL). This is us heading back to land.
It was quite the experience, with a few surprises and I cannot wait to share them. It is never easy being in economy for 12.5 hours on any aircraft, but that was the easiest economy experience for me to date. Do not worry — much more is to come — but for now, it is time to check out Santiago.
LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (CC-BBA) at Paine Field. Image by Tony Rodgers.
This weekend is Labor Day weekend in the US and what better way to celebrate than head down to Santiago, Chile with LAN Airlines on their 787 Delivery flight?
LAN will take delivery of the first of 32 Dreamliners that they have on order. Currently, the airline has 22 787-8s and 10 787-9s on order. The new planes will be used to replace their older 767-300ERs. Although LAN will be flying the plane from Everett on Friday, it is most likely the official paper signing and money transfer will happen sometime tomorrow.
I feel honored to be invited on the delivery flight and look forward to checking out Santiago and Chile for the first time.
During my time in Santiago, I will have the ability to check out LAN’s flight simulators and maintenance facility. As always, please feel free to follow along on my Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully there won’t be too much jetlag not only from testing out the 787 for a long distance trip (my previous flight was only 90 minutes), but also Santiago currently shares the same time as New York (and only three hours ahead of Seattle-time).
I will also end up with some free time while in Chile, so if you have any suggestions on things to check out — please let me know.
On my flight back to the US, I will be flying on one of LAN’s Boeing 767-300ERs. It will be quite interesting to compare the 787 back-to-back with the aircraft that it will be replacing. You can bet there will many photos and a few stories to share of this adventure.