Browsing Tag: United 787

United Airlines' first 787-8 at Paine Field in Everett - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

United Airlines’ first 787 at Paine Field – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

THIS is the route that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was built for.  Flying between Tokyo and Denver, you need a special kind of aircraft.  Something that is super-efficient, able to deal with Denver’s high altitude and summer heat, and right-sized for the market.  The 787-8 checks all of those boxes.

Luckily, the 787 has the legs for some wonky routings from Denver due to winds - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Luckily, the 787 has the legs for some wonky routings from Denver due to winds – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, I planned a trip with friend (and fellow Denver-based AirlineReporter writer), Dave Delagarza.  Our wives were not thrilled to care for the young kids during the trip, but we’d be gone for less than 72 hours.  In that period of time, we flew nearly 20,000 miles to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and back, all on 787-8s (of both the United and ANA variety).  This helped us both re-qualify for our elite status levels with United, our dominant carrier here in Denver.

N27908, United's 8th 787. Photo Courtesy of BriBri (CC BY-SA 2.0)

N27908, United’s 8th 787. Photo Courtesy of BriBri (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In part one of this series I provided an overview of my airline sampler trip (5 airlines over 4 days) and offered my thoughts on my very first flight with Virgin America, from Dallas to San Francisco. Here we pick back up at SFO for a quick journey down to LAX in the first class cabin aboard a United 787-8.

This leg of my airline sampler was actually the catalyst for the entire trip. I happened to stumble upon an announcement that United would be briefly returning the 787 to domestic service for once weekly (Friday) service from SFO-LAX. I didn’t get the opportunity to check out the Dreamliner when United had them on domestic runs when they were first introduced. After a number of friends booked their own 787 experiences only to be disappointed by the wrong plane at the gate, due to operational issues, I decided to hold off. I was skeptic for too long and wound up missing my opportunity. Some time had passed and United now had a number of 787s in service, so I figured that the time was right.

The economy fare was very attractively priced at a meager $72.10 — what a bargain! When United.com solicited me to pay an extra $29 for economy plus I jumped at it.

As a Boeing fan-boy, I was excited, but that joy would soon evaporate like spilled Jet A on a hot day. It pains me to report that problems began before I ever stepped foot on the plane…

United's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is pulled out of the factory. Image from Boeing. Click for Larger.

United's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is pulled out of the factory. Image from Boeing. Click for Larger.

Wednesday night, Boeing pulled out United Airline’s first 787 Dreamliner from the factory and off the final assembly line. The first 787 Dreamliner has already been delivered to the launch customer, ANA, but United will be the first North American airline to take delivery of the new aircraft.  From United’s press release: “While in final assembly, the aircraft moved through four factory positions, including the final aircraft body join, landing gear installation, weight-on-wheels testing and installation of interior components and systems. Over the next several months, the aircraft will move to the next phase of completion, which includes final cabin configuration, installation of engines and painting.”

United's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner gets pulled in front of the factory located in Everett, WA. Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.

United's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner gets pulled in front of the factory located in Everett, WA. Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.

United will configure their first 787 with 36 seats in BusinessFirst, 63 seats in Economy Plus and 120 seats in Economy. There was some speculation if United might be offering a special livery, but I doubt it. When I was on the factory floor recently, the tail was definitely a solid blue, which matches United’s current “new” livery. With United recently switching their brand over from the tulip to the globe, it wouldn’t really make sense for them to also introduce a special livery. Normally I am all for any livery that spices things up, but at this stage it would just cause brand confusion.

Nose show of United Airline's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner outside the factory at Paine Field.

Nose show of United Airline's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner outside the factory at Paine Field. Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.

Although the exact date of delivery is unknown, United told AirlineReporter.com that they expect to get their first 787 during the, “second half of 2012.” It will be the first of 50 that the airline has on order.