Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sweet dreams on the 787 Dreamliner

I could scarcely contain my excitement as I boarded the Boeing 787 Dream liner inaugural flight! And was not disappointed! It is a real game changer in Aviation.
I would have liked to have a commemorative paper boarding pass but I showed my mobile boarding document on the screen of my iPhone at the gate. Both customers and United crew were smiling and visibly enthusiastic. Several grown men were behaving like school kids in line to board. Though, I was a little concerned when the gate agent said that we could board in 15 minutes, after, “ the crew had been trained” …hopefully he was not referring to the Captain.
Elitepro in a United 787
As we stepped into the well designed cabin, the softer lighting was apparent, bigger windows and bigger overhead bag compartments and a wider body than any other plane I’ve been on. Wider than the 777’s and 747’s that have 2 seats on each side of first class with one seat down the middle. The United 787 has 3 sets of 2 seats between the windows in first class, and 3 of 3 in economy. It uses 20% less fuel.
You can see the pleasant blue lighting in the vaulted ceilings in this photo. (Reminiscent of the surreal blue fake sky in the Vegas Venetian Mall). At night, the blue lighting fades to a whiter light that manages to give light while dark in the seating area. The seats recline to a true flat bed in a well designed compartment.
I  gobbled up the Smoked Salmon 2012-11-04 17.13.47and Capers, before I took this photo because I’m a salmon addict, but here is my scrumptious chicken cacciatore dinner.
The BEST is that you feel better, due to the cabin pressure getting more oxygen and less dry air.
Larger windows enable passengers without window seats to look out windows and enjoy the view. Unique electro-chromic shades dim the windows without a pull-down shade. It’s like having sunglasses in several shades on the windows.
I was glad to see the in seat power outlets and wonderful in-flight entertainment; -in 13 languages with more than 500 hours of programming. I was able to fast forward the movies, but it gave up on me and froze so on the return flight I could not watch while landing as I had done on the inbound. There are 70 United Economy Plus seats, feature a 35-inch pitch with 6 inches of recline. Standard 113 United Economy seats feature a 32-inch pitch with 5 inches of recline. It’s cconfigured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy.
787 1stclass seat DutyFreeMag It ‘s made of plastic – a revolutionary carbon fiber composite, yet its 4x stronger and lighter than aluminum and uses less fuel. ANA Airways took delivery of the first 787 in July 2011 in Tokyo’s Narita airport after many delays. They were convinced to purchase the aircraft after the Japanese Engineers hit the carbon fiber with a hammer and could not make a dent. ANA will have 20 787’s in 2013 and rival Japan Airlines has ordered 35 Dreamliners and plans to launch a 787 service from Tokyo to Boston from next April. Australia's Qantas cancelled orders for 35 Boeing Dreamliner jets to cut costs after posting a full-year net loss for the first time. United has ordered 50 of these aircraft.
United Airlines temporary domestic Routes for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners are being phased in scheduled 787 service between Houston and each of its other domestic hubs beginning Nov, 4, 2012 and Yours Truly (I ) was on the very first flight. You can still catch one of their daily flights to LAX,  ORD and DEN before they start the international flights in December.
IAH-LAX-IAH 7:35 a.m. westbound
12:30 p.m. eastbound
thru March 31, 2013

United is the first Airline in the USA to fly them and I’m an old hand at flying it now that I’ve been on 2 787flights.