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.
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
Be one of the 10,000 to share Japan with the world.
I just had the opportunity to meet with Mizohata san, the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency and san, the Director of Intentional Tourism Promotion about Japan’s tourism outlook. I will be sharing much more information later, but one thing that seemed to interest quite a few people on Twitter was the fact that Japan is hoping to offer 10,000 free flights to Japan in the summer of 2012 to people who can help share the word about the benefits of Japan.
If approved by the government, anyone will be able to sign up online in April 2012 and state how they can, “communicate their experiences through blogs and social networking during and after their trips.” Those who can show the most benefit for Japanese tourism will be most competitive in the selection process.
Winners will be offered free airfare, but any other expenses have to be covered by the person. However, there is a good chance that hotels in the region will also offer great deals for promotions to visitors.
The aim of this project, called “Fly to Japan!” is to:
* Eliminate worries about travel to Japan through positive words by actual travelers
* Increase of domestic comsumption by spending during travel
* Development of new tourist routes and resources.
Since this has not been approved yet, there are not too many details, but figured I would give a heads up to those of you who might be interested.
Much more information about the state of Japan and their tourism outlook will be given in a future story.
As reported earlier in the week, the second Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA002) is currently in Japan undergoing Service Readiness Validation. Even though words about what is going on in Japan is interesting, photos are even better. Boeing has been doing a pretty great job posting photos on their Flickr account, but they also have some slick hi-resolution photos on their media page that I wanted to share. All the photos below were taken by Boeing and have the description from Boeing below each one. Click on any photo for a much larger version. Enjoy!
Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.
The Boeing 787 flight test airplane ZA002 readied for departure from Boeing Field to Japan on Saturday, July 2. Over the coming days, Boeing and 787 launch customer ANA will conduct an important validation of their readiness for the 787 Dreamliner’s entry into service.
Click the link below for additional photos.
Boeing 787 Dreamliners for ANA, JAL and China Southern sit waiting for parts at Paine Field.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is about to start a new round of testing to prepare for its first customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA), during the third quarter of 2011. During the week of July 4th, the second Dreamliner, ZA002 is expected to start service readiness testing in Japan.
Both companies will help to simulate in-service operations at several airports throughout Japan. ANA’s maintenance crews will also have the ability to service the 787 during the testing, including fit checks for airplane jacks, towing and refueling the aircraft. The testing is expected to take place during the week of July 4th. This will also mark the first time that the 787 has flown to and with-in Japan.
At this point, ANA is expecting their first 787 Dreamliner sometime between August and September. Boeing is not officially talking about who will receive the next few 787s. However, Boeing President Jim McNerney announced that China Southern should receive their first Dreamliner during the fourth quarter this year.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has recently announced they will operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a route from Narita Japan to Boston, starting in April 2012, but a JAL spokes person confirmed to me via email that this will not be the first 787 they will receive. “The first 787 will not be on the [Tokyo to Boston] route, but this route is the first one named by JAL to use the 787.” The spokesperson explained. “We haven’t announced where the first 787 will be deployed to.” JAL hopes to receive their first 787 by the end of 2011 and receive five Dreamliners by the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
It is not exactly clear if China Southern or JAL will receive the second 787, but this timeline suggests that ANA will not be flying the 787 exclusively for very long. With ANA’s pride in being the first customer for the 787 and all their advertising featuring the aircraft and even operating a site dedicated to the aircraft called “ANA We Fly 1st,” I can only imagine that the airline was hoping to be the only airline flying the Dreamliner for a bit longer than a few months at most.
An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767 on the Taxiway at Haneda. The new international terminal is in the background.
Let me introduce you to Tokyo’s two airports: Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.
Historically Haneda has handled domestic flights and Narita has handled international flights. Haneda is located just outside of downtown Tokyo, where Narita is about 50 miles east of Tokyo.
If passengers flew into Haneda to make a connection for an international flight, they would have had to take an hour long bus or train ride to Narita to get their connecting international flight.
But things are changing. On October 21st Haneda opened their new International Terminal and commenced their first scheduled international flights in 32 years. Some short-haul international flights have already started, and long-haul will start on October 31st.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) will start two flights from Haneda on the 31st: one from Los Angeles using a Boeing 777-200ER and the other to Honolulu using a Boeing 767-300ER. ANA will also start code-share flights from Haneda with Air Canada, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International, all members of Star Alliance, as well as with Eva Airways and Malaysia Airlines.
Air Canada will fly a Haneda-Vancouver route and Malaysia Airlines will start a Haneda-Kota Kinabalu route. ANA will also start code-shares on four flights to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, two flights to Bangkok with Thai Airways International, two flights to Seoul (Gimpo) with Asiana Airlines, two flights to Beijing with Air China, and four flights to Taipei (Songshan) with Eva Airways.
So what does this mean for you? Convenience. If you are in the US and looking to visit Tokyo or fly into Tokyo to transfer to another domestic flight, it will now be much easier. Yes, tickets will cost a bit more to Haneda, but you will save the bus or train fare and of course time. Saving time can be worth the money if you are travelling on business or even on vacation.
During a press conference Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and ANA were all asked if they have seen their booking to Narita decline due to the new competition from Haneda and all three stated at this point they have not.
Competition never seems to hurt passengers and hopefully this will be the case of Haneda initiating international flights. Currently the long haul flights won’t directly compete with the ones from Narita due to time restrictions at Haneda. Long-haul flights can only take off or land at Haneda from midnight to 5am, times which Narita is closed.
Not only does Haneda increase the diversity of passengers and aircraft, they also got a brand spanking new international terminal that is quite amazing. On my next blog I will take you on a little tour of that new terminal.