Just over a year ago, Boeing debuted its newest jet airplane, the 787. Designed to take fewer passengers a much farther distance than other long-range jets, the 787—nicknamed the Dreamliner—will allow airlines to make money by serving farther-flung destinations that people want to get to, but that the current crop of planes that can fly the distance are just too big for. For example, there may be 200 people wanting a daily nonstop Miami-to-Tokyo flight, but until the 787 came around, the only planes that could fly the route all seated at least 300 passengers. No airline could financially justify such a route with that many empty seats, no matter how much they charged for first class. Well, times have changed.
Right now, eight of the nearly fifty airlines that have ordered 787s are operating the type and new nonstop, such as Japan Air Lines’ Boston-Tokyo, ANA’s San Jose-Tokyo, and United Airlines’ Denver-Tokyo, have already begun or are slated to begin soon (Tokyo’s seeing a lot of 787 action!). Other carriers, like United, Ethiopian Airlines, and LAN, are using the plane for “rightsizing” existing routes, with United flying the new-new between hubs in the US.
The airlines aren’t the only beneficiaries, though. Besides getting access to additional nonstop markets, passengers will experience larger windows, more room throughout the cabin, and better pressurization, and lightweight composite materials create for a less-gas-guzzling airplane that, in theory, should result in lower fares but don’t hold your breaths on that one.
Anybody else as excited about the new 7-8 as I am? Prolly not. :-/
Check out this video of ANA’s 787 interior. It’s pretty fly.