United Airlines Has Two Firsts Today

United Airlines celebrated two firsts today as it took delivery of a 787-9 Dreamliner and will become the first North American airline to fly both the 787-9 and 787-9 variants of the Dreamliner when it launches service later this month.  This new Dreamliner is also the first to be equipped with factory-installed Wi-Fi connectivity.

“The 787-9 builds on the Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency and customer comfort while giving us even more flexibility and range,” said United’s Vice President of Fleet Ron Baur. “Last year our customers gave the 787 the highest customer satisfaction scores of any aircraft in our fleet, and we know they’ll enjoy what the 787-9 has to offer.”

The airline announced earlier this year that it will fly the 787-9 Dreamliner on what will become the longest 787 route–non-stop service between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia starting on October 26.  The airline will first fly the aircraft between Houston and Los Angeles before that Melbourne route launch.

This 787-9 joins 11 787-8s already in United’s fleet, with 54 more Dreamliners on order, including the 787-10.

The 787-9 fuselage stretches 20 feet (6 meters) beyond the 787-8, and will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 kilometres) using 20 percent less fuel and producing 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized aircraft, Boeing states. The airplane adopts popular features of the 787-8, offering passenger-experience enhancements like large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, with cleaner air and a smoother ride.

United’s 787-9 will be configured with 252 seats – 48 in United BusinessFirst and 204 in United Economy, including 88 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

United’s 787-9 fleet will be line-fitted at the Boeing factory with Wi-Fi connectivity. Starting with this aircraft, all of the airline’s subsequent Dreamliners, including the -8 and -10 variants, will be delivered with Wi-Fi, the airline states.

United currently has Wi-Fi on more than 300 aircraft, including all of its Airbus and Boeing 747 aircraft, and has indicated that it plans to equip the majority of its mainline fleet with Wi-Fi by mid-2015.

United’s new 787-9 Dreamliner will offer Panasonic’s Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi and the airline tells Flight Chic connectivity on the LA to Melbourne route will start around $16.99 per segment, though that rate is subject to change.


Featured Image: United Airlines first in North America to take delivery of new 787-9 Dreamliner. (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

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