As reported by Wandering Aramean, United Airlines took delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural BOS-NRT Japan Airlines 787 flight back in April. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the 787, believing it would change the way we experience flights. Not a big stretch, but I was right. While a small sample size, I suffered less dehydration and felt much more well rested after both of my long flights.
The advantage for the airlines is on “long, thin” routes, or a route between two cities very far apart that can’t support the economics of a wide-body plane like a 747. There are enough people that want to fly direct between a city pair (Boston and Tokyo or San Diego and Tokyo) to fill a smaller plane at a great price per seat based on the fuel and operating costs of the plane. But, must smaller planes don’t have the range that the jumbo jets do. The 787 bridges that gap, providing a great experience on a long route that can be billed at a premium while the airline also saves money because the plane is a lot cheaper to operate.
Even though I prefer American Airlines, there’s no question I would choose a 787 over another plane on a route, which means United may see more of my business over the next few years while they have the 787 and American doesn’t.