Toolie Travel Blog

A million-mile flyer talks about the life of a business traveler.

Newsletter: Boeing's New 787 Dreamliner

As a resident of the Seattle area, there are two big business influences on us: Microsoft -- where I used to work, and Boeing -- on whose planes I've flown the most.

This past Wednesday, the first 787 Dreamliner rolled out of the hangar in Everett, Washington (about 30 miles north of my home) in a special celebration with the CEOs of All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Boeing, along with the workers who produced the airplane. I watched a summary video of the celebration on the Boeing website, and I have to admit I felt a certain pride in being a resident here. When there's a downturn in the airline business, we all feel it. Now that Boeing was able to finally deliver this plane, everyone who lives here is breathing a sigh of relief! I'm especially proud because they pulled it off despite the current economy.

I am looking forward to the days when the first 787s are delivered domestically, because I want to ride in one! When I travel internationally I look for flights with the Boeing 777 because I love how that plane is put together. I can only imagine how wonderful the 787s are going to be when we here in Seattle get to ride in one.

Improvements in the Airplane

The first thing I noticed on the Boeing videos is the in-seat entertainment. For Economy class, there are individual video screens in the headrest of the seat in front of you. I also noted ample storage bins, roomy lavatories, and tinted windows! No more having to sit in the dark just to be able to see the video screens. The windows are 30% larger, for those who want to look outside, and there are improvements to the Rolls Royce airplane engines that offer a smoother ride.

The new plane uses LED lighting instead of fluorescent lighting, which gives it a softer glow and lower electrical consumption. Personally, I'm looking forward to that -- fluorescent lighting makes you look even worse than you already do after flying all night on an airplane.

Here is the micro-site for the airplane on ANA's website. It will detect your language and display English, if that's your default.


We Get Around

Among the destinations listed for this plane are cities within Japan, as well as Hong Kong and Frankfurt. According to the CEO of ANA, "The B787 is considered a medium-size aircraft but it can travel more than 52 per cent further than a similarly sized B767, while using 20 per cent less fuel. This brand new aircraft presents a new business opportunity for us to open new routes that would not have been viable before and gives us the chance to expand our network.”

That's a really critical issue these days. The cost of fuel is already high, so a plane that can travel further and save 20% on fuel costs is a welcome addition to the skies. One can only hope that it might ultimately mean cost savings passed on to the passengers. (Hey, I'm an optimist!)

I am pleased to report that one of the 787s currently in production is scheduled for United, so I look forward to getting on that plane in due course.
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