Friday August 3, 2012 1:09 pm
Boeing unveils United 787 Dreamliner, gives us a tour of the new aircraft
Yesterday morning we let you know that we'd be spending some quality time with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, the current talk of the aviation world. While All Nippon Airways in Japan took delivery of its Dreamliner last year, we've been waiting to find out which US-based carrier would be the first to have its livery emblazoned across the fuselage of Boeing's current flagship aircraft. As it turns out, that carrier is United Airlines.
We went over to Paine Field, Boeing's airfield and factory up in Everett, Washington to be one of the first to get a look at United's new toy. From the outside, United's 787 is largely impressive. It's also the cleanest aircraft we've ever seen, thanks to the fact that the paint is fresh (the aircraft just came out of the factory a couple of days ago.) This is the first of fifty 787 Dreamliners that United Airlines is adding to its feel that it'll use to service existing routes, as well as new ones, like Denver, CO to Tokyo, Japan, which starts in March 2013.
Gallery: United 787 Dreamliner Exterior
When we first entered the aircraft, it was immediately apparent that this is a luxury experience. The door brought us in to the area between business class and super economy, and there was actually enough space to move around freely, and the LEDs that shined subtly across the length of the Dreamliner's raised ceiling made for some nice mood lighting. Interestingly, the LED array can be used to mimic the light outside the aircraft, making things feel more natural and less jarring for passengers. Flight attendants can even have the lights mimic a sunrise for those landing from flying a red-eye.
We took a right to head into BusinessFirst class to check out the lie-flat seats and premium entertainment options. We had United flight crew members on board to walk us through some of the different features of the aircraft, including the infotainment system, motion-sensitive lavatory controls (to keep your hands clean and prevent the spread of germs,) and the super-sized overhead bins. They're easy to open, and larger than the typical. In fact, each compartment can hold four full-sized carry-on roller bags.
Gallery: United 787 Dreamliner Interior
The United 787 Dreamliner can accommodate a total of 219 passengers. That's 111 in Economy, 72 in Economy Plus, and 36 in BusinessFirst. We're sure that the company won't have much trouble finding passengers who wanna give it a test drive, but public flights are still a few months away. United will take official delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner next month.
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