Trip Report: Flying the Dreamliner #06JUL13 – Welcome to tomorrow

United 787 Trip 1

Guest Editor Marcelo F. De Biasi.

Flying the Dreamliner #06JUL13 – Welcome to tomorrow

Guest Editor Marcelo F. De Biasi

Guest Editor Marcelo F. De Biasi

This is a special one.  As most out there, having seen the Dreamliner take shape all the way from the very beginning when the airplane was still dubbed 7E7 and looked more like a shark than an actual bird, being able to actually try out the plane that in a sense “we” got to build (remember when Boeing had extensive surveys in place online asking for customer/passenger feedback?) is nothing short of a dream come true.  It’s only been a couple of months since I had the chance to see a Dreamliner live – years after its roll-out – and it certainly wasn’t easy finding a good and “cheap” flight that I could book without having to fly abroad.  Nevertheless, it required some doing as I had to make my way all the way down to Houston (IAH) in order to see this through.  Since the 787 was grounded at the beginning of the year, United Airlines (UA) stopped serving Newark (EWR) with the Dreamliner and didn’t reinstate the flight once the plane was put back into service in June.  My options were to fly from IAH to either Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX) or Chicago (ORD).  Chicago was the “cheaper” option I also wanted to connect at O’Hare International Airport and finally get to know United’s largest hub.  And so my itinerary for a day and half of flying developed into LaGuardia (LGA)-Charlotte (CLT)-IAH (on US Airways on Friday evening), IAH-ORD (the actual Dreamliner flight on United) and finally, ORD-Washington Dulles (IAD)-New York (JFK) (also on United) – the last three flights all on Saturday.  Quite an ordeal “just” to try out the Dreamliner.  I’m sure a number of people think I’m nuts for doing this (admittedly, sometimes I am).

United 787 Trip 2

So, was it worth it?  The answer is big fat YES.  I would do it all over again.  The Dreamliner sets new standards in flying.  From a financial/operational efficiency standpoint there is little doubt that the 787 is a game changer and will remain largely unchallenged for some time – yes, the A350-900 has initiated its test flying program, but it is also slightly larger than the 787 and is in fact more in the size category of the 777-200/200ER (where the 787-10 will probably also steal the show now that it has been officially launched).  United 787 Trip 7

From a customer perspective, I can tell you that 787 is by far the best airplane in existence today. Its cabin is spacious, elegant, functional, and modern.  The windows are larger in area than any other civil aircraft in-service or in development.  Window shades no longer exist, these have been replaced with electrochromism-based smart glass that allow passengers (and flight attendants alike) to dim the light to their liking (five levels in total) – and this really works like a charm.

United 787 Trip 3

As if the extra spacious feeling in the cabin – unlike anything I’ve experienced on any other plane I’ve flown on so far – wasn’t enough, the more humid cabin is simply perfect.  While you might not sense any immediate difference to another airplane, it’s when you connect onto another “normal” airplane afterwards that it hits you and you realize what a difference the cabin of the 787 makes.  Quite astonishing.  Now, I know that pretty much all of you have at least read about these advanced features – and some of you have already tried the Dreamliner out yourselves and will know what I’m talking about here – but, trust me when I say that Boeing and 787 customers are not exaggerating when they claim that the Dreamliner is tomorrow’s airplane, today.

United 787 Trip 5

Setting my “avgeek” mentality aside for a moment, as a regular passenger I would certainly opt for a Dreamliner flight in the future whenever an option is available, particularly if flying long-haul.  It sounds a bit extreme, but in all fairness, this is how good of a passenger experience the Dreamliner offers its customers (of course, provided the airline which chooses to operate the 787 doesn’t fit the plane with a 28 inch pitch in Economy Class).

Last but not least, the Dreamliner is also incredibly quiet – almost as silent as the A380 (credit where it’s due).  

United 787 Trip 8

I also need to say a little something about United.  On my 787 flight between IAH and ORD, the onboard service was very good – it was noticeable that the crew was excited about their new “toy”.   Nevertheless, only serving beverages (no spirits) on a 2 and a half hour flight in Economy Class (not even peanuts) is not really what you would expect of a traditional legacy carrier.  In any case, overall it was a top notch job by the enthusiastic “Dreamliner crew”.

United 787 Trip 4

Please enjoy a few photos of the flight – and of that INCREDIBLE looking wing, truly a work of art – and a short video I took of the final approach into Chicago O’Hare Airport.

United 787 Trip 6

Video: Landing in ORD

By the way, in case any of you were wondering, the registration of the plane I flew was N27903 (msn 34823), delivered factory fresh to United on December 20, 2012.

Copyright Photos: Marcelo F. De Biasi. All rights reserved.

About the Guest Editor:


What’s there to say about me? I’m just your average “AvGeek”. Having been bitten by the aviation bug shortly after I was born – the first words to come out of my mouth were apparently “VARIG” -, some 11 years ago I decided to make the leap to aviation photography. Occasionally, I’ve also been known to write an article or two about aviation. Aside for my obvious love for aviation, I’m also a regular amateur photographer with a nag for history, international politics, branding & marketing, social media, philosophical questions, Formula 1 and quality hard & heavy rock.  Last but not least, I also work for a major network carrier in Network Planning.


I’m from: São Paulo, Brazil, currently residing in New York, United States
Favorite Airliner: Boeing 737 Series, Boeing 777 Series, Embraer 190 and 195, MD-11, Lockheed Electra II
Fascinating Airlines: Azul, AirAsia X, Copa Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Emirates, Lufthansa
Memorable Airports: SDU, CGH, HKG, ZRH, DCA, SSA