It is hard to believe that it has been over two weeks since I took a ride on All Nippon Airways (ANA) second Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA802A). Since then I have finally been able to get my video done (which is shared in this story) and it has allowed me to think more about flying on the 787 Dreamliner. I also reached out to a few others who were able to take a flight that week and see what their thoughts are after having a bit of time to mentally digest.
When flying in the 787 I knew it was different. It took off very smoothly and it was quiet as I expected it would be. I didn’t fully appreciate how nice it was until my flight home. The day after the 787 excursion, I was on a ANA Boeing 777-300ER back to LA. The 777 is by no means a bad aircraft and it seemed amazing when I flew to Tokyo, but it seemed very different on the way home. This was the exact same plane that I flew from LAX to Tokyo just a few days earlier. On my 777 flight to Japan, the 777 seemed new, fresh and comfortable. But flying on it after the 787, it now seemed outdated, cramped and not nearly as nice.
To be fair, this 777 did not have ANA’s newest staggered business class product, but the current one is not horrid. I think my perception of my 777 flight to Japan versus going home was a real eye opener on how different the 787 is to the airline business. In the words of Reading Rainbow, “But you don’t have to take my word for it…”
Mount Fuji seen from ANA's second Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
AirlineReporter.com: What was your favorite part of the 787 flight? Norris: The fact that despite I was with 240 of my newest, closest friends, the big windows and open architecture made the cabin feel larger than it actually was. The smoothness of the flight and the skyline of the windows gave the unusual sensation of almost flying in a dirigible – like a luxury airship. I didn’t expect that. Interestingly I found the light control on the window shade very useful for modulating light levels – like having sets of giant sunglasses with various tint levels.
Was it what you thought it would be? It was just what I hoped – and expected.
Will it be difficult to fly on non-787 aircraft now? It already is!
The view of the wing from the lavatory. Not too bad eh?
AirlineReporter.com: What was your favorite part of the 787 flight? Sloan: I was absolutely in awe of that raked wing. Watching all the control surfaces react to gusts and chop was mesmerizing to me. I think you commented in a post how it’s difficult to appreciate from in-cabin just how curved up the dihedral is. I agree. The in-flight entertainment of the wing could not be beat. The positive, upbeat, convivial atmosphere of passengers and crew in being a part of history was equally wonderful to the aircraft itself.
Was it what you thought it would be? I wouldn’t say anything could be better. As I think many of us have remarked, had the flight been the longer-haul, we would have been able to discern the affects on the lower pressurization and higher humidity on our well-being. It was very difficult to tell after just a 4 1/2 hour flight. I also actually wished for turbulence just to feel more of the gust suppression system’s affect. It really couldn’t have been better, well maybe… just a bit if I were sitting in Business Class…but I’m not complaining!
Will it be difficult to fly on non-787 aircraft now? I flew back on an ANA Boeing 777-300ER. The service and aircraft were superb, so I wasn’t feeling any pain, but perhaps the question should be “will it be difficult to fly on a non-ANA, ordinary flight?” Now if I am an airline, I would say I would want every aircraft in my medium haul fleet to be a 787 to start reaping those savings now.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
500 employees walk with ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner during the delivery celebration today.
It was cold and it was very wet, but the celebration was still great. The event was set up outside the Boeing Factory at Paine Field. By the stage was ZA002 in standard ANA livery and down the way sat the 24th 787 with special ANA 787 livery (JA802A). The first 787 to go to ANA, JA801A, was seen parked next to the Future of Flight for its first flight early tomorrow morning. Almost right on time, the 787 in special ANA livery was pulled towards the stage with 500 Boeing employees walking with it.
Scarfs were handed out and then raised in celebration during the 787 Delivery event. A 787 (ZA002) looks on.
After JA802A arrived to the stage, everyone cheered. Hundreds of Boeing workers stood in the rain while executives from both Boeing and ANA talked about this historic event. The first 787 for ANA, JA801A is set to take off tomorrow at 6:35am PDT. Boeing will offer another live feed via their website and I will be there on Twitter as well.
Boeing employees huddle under the 787 Dreamliner to get out of the rain.
“Today we celebrate a significant moment in the history of flight,” said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “The 787 Dreamliner is the biggest innovation in commercial aviation since the Boeing 707 introduced the world to passenger jet travel more than 50 years ago. I want to thank ANA and all the employees of Boeing and our partner companies for the talent, technology and teamwork that have brought this game-changing airplane to life.”
During the ceremony, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh presented a ceremonial key to Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA.
“It’s not often that we have the chance to make history, do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone,” said Albaugh. “That’s what the 787 Dreamliner is and what ANA and Boeing have done together – build what truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century.”