North American carrier, United Airlines, have taken delivery of their first 787-10 from Boeing. The freshly liveried United Airlines Dreamliner was handed over at Boeing’s delivery centre in Charleston, South Carolina, yesterday.
Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, Ihssane Mounir, had this to say:
“The United Airlines team is raising the bar again. With the new 787-10, United will fly the most fuel efficient widebody jet in commercial aviation today. The larger airplane comes with more seats, more cargo capacity, and the same Dreamliner comforts that passengers prefer.”
What can we expect from the United 787-10?
Sadly, although the 787-10 has been handed over to United this week, you’re unlikely to be able to take a flight on it until next year. As we reported last month, the airline plans to use their newest Dreamliner on two transcontinental routes from January 2019.
The first route will be from Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX), and then later from EWR to San Francisco (SFO), neither of which will even begin to challenge the aircraft’s range. It’s likely they are looking to squeeze the most out of its additional seating capacity rather than sticking it on long haul routes, at least for now.
Once more 787-10s have been delivered, United have said they plan to enter it into service on European routes too, almost certainly from their Newark hub.
What we do know, and are very excited about, is that the new United Airlines 787-10 will be the first Dreamliner to be fitted with the carrier’s new Polaris seating in business class. These will be lie flat seats in a customised 1-2-1 configuration, which makes with direct aisle access possible from every seat.
With 22 inches width and 78 inches pitch, these are some of the most generous seats in the skies. Although no official seating plan has been released by United, FlightGlobal dropped this graphic earlier in the year which suggests we’ll be looking at 48 business class, 21 premium economy, 45 extra legroom economy and 208 standard economy seats.
Why such a fuss about the United Airlines 787-10?
They aren’t the first airline to receive the 787-10; Boeing’s launch customer, Singapore Airlines, took their first delivery way back in March, and have received another five planes since then. So, why is the United 787-10 such a big deal?
Well, for a start, this is the first 787-10 to take to the skies in North America. As the domestic launch customer, the United Airlines Dreamliner is creating excitement across the industry.
More important than that, this United Airlines 787-10 puts the carrier in a unique position around the globe. They are now the first airline to own the entire family of 787 Dreamliners, operating the 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10 simultaneously.
Mounir commented about this, “We are honoured that United, a leading global carrier, has placed its trust in the 787 family, carefully optimizing their network with all three Dreamliner models.”
The love between Boeing and United
It comes as no surprise that United were chosen as the launch customer for the 787-10. They were also the first North American operator to run the 787-8 and the 787-9. Makes sense really, when you consider that once upon a time United and Boeing were one and the same company.
Operating under the brand Boeing Air Transport, the original company was founded in 1927 as a mail delivery service. The name changed two years later to United Aircraft and Transportation Corp, and shortly after that the company diversified into Boeing for manufacturing and United for transport.
Over the years, United Airlines has been the preferred North American launch customer for numerous Boeing models, including the 720, the iconic 737 and the 777.
Where will we see the 787-10 next?
This United Airlines Dreamliner is the first of many to be delivered to the Chicago based carrier, as they have a further 14 on order from Boeing. They are expecting another two to be delivered before the end of the year.
United’s order book for the 787-10 pales into insignificance next to that of Singapore Airlines, who are still waiting on a further 44 aircraft, to take their fleet of the latest Dreamliner model up to 49.