In our line of work, new planes are a big deal. So we’ve watched closely as Boeing’s longest version of the Dreamliner — the 787-10 — hits the skies. United is the first U.S. airline to get the “dash-ten” and it has started deploying the stretch Dreamliner on their premium transcontinental routes between Newark and Los Angeles & San Francisco. When we found out that the San Francisco-Newark inaugural flight was on Valentine’s Day, we knew we had to be on it!
There’s a lot of reasons to care about United’s 787-10. It’s the first of United’s Dreamliners to carry the Polaris business class seat, which goes fully flat and offers everyone direct aisle access. The plane comes with an awesome new inflight entertainment system. And now United is the first and only airline to operate the full Dreamliner family: the 787-8, 787-9 and the 787-10.
Read on for photos and more from United’s inaugural 787-10 transcon service out of SFO — including a Valentine’s Day celebration for United’s newest plane.
Photo: United Airlines
What’s the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? For most people some combination of candy, kisses, chocolate, and rom-coms does the trick. But we AvGeeks like to do things a little differently, don’t we? So tomorrow and into Friday, get ready for some epic live tweeting as we — along with San Francisco (SFO) airport and United Airlines — give a little Valentine’s Day love to the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.
United just started taking delivery of the -10, the largest version of the Dreamliner. It started on limited flights between Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX), and this Valentine’s Day will be the starting day for regular 787-10 service from Newark to San Francisco.
The 787-10 Polaris business class cabin – Photo: United Airlines
Why does this plane matter to you? Well, United is the first U.S. airline to fly the 787-10, and it’s also the first Dreamliner variant to get United’s true Polaris seat. The plane also sports a real-deal premium economy seat — called United Premium Plus — and a redesigned inflight entertainment system. So follow along on Twitter starting tomorrow at noon PST for live updates from our very special Valentine’s Day flight, as United inaugurates 787-10 service from SFO to EWR! And on Friday, drop by United’s brand-new Polaris lounge at LAX with us.
So far, United has opened four of its flagship Polaris lounges: Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO), New York / Newark (EWR), and Houston (IAH). We visited the Chicago lounge last year before it opened, and more recently we dropped by the one at SFO. Both were seriously impressive, with amenities like restaurant-style high-quality dining, showers, and nap rooms, with a dash of local inspiration. In short, everything we’ve seen from the Polaris lounges goes above and beyond. And we’re out to review the whole set.
Our next stop was the Newark lounge, which opened earlier this summer. Newark is United’s primary east coast hub and handles huge amounts of traffic, so a Polaris lounge here was a long time coming. We swung by on a Sunday morning and put the place through its paces. And between a delicious eggs Benedict and some relaxation with views of the ramp, we had a great time. Read on for tons of photos and an in-depth review — plus our analysis of how the place fits into United’s broader lounge landscape.
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.