I’m just weeks away from my first flight on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I realize most airline passengers probably don’t care what they fly – but for me, getting there is part of the air travel fun. (OK, I also realize “air travel” and “fun” don’t belong in the same sentence to many people.)
I went out of my way to book a flight on the United Airlines Dreamliner. It even cost me an extra stop instead of a nonstop flight from Phoenix to Chicago. What is it about the 787 Dreamliner that makes me willing to stop in Houston … just for an all-too-brief 2.5-hour flight?
Well, other bloggers have already flown the Dreamliner on much longer flights.
But I’m eager to experience a few things for myself. Leading the list: higher humidity in the cabin. The cabin air really dries passengers out. Yes, even those from Arizona. I’m also interested in a look at the larger windows. Both are the result of a fuselage made from carbon fiber rather than aluminum. And both can make air travel a little better.
After I booked my flight, my mind also drifted to the photography flap between a blogger and a flight attendant.
I expect no problems. First of all, I have a more advanced command of good manners than my blogger brethren – and a reduced sense of entitlement. Also, I’ve had nothing but good air travel experiences with United Airlines and with its merged-into-the-fold Continental. Plus, something good may have come from the blogger’s beef: United Airlines has clarified its on-board photography guidelines. Good thing, too: If United Airlines is one of the early 787 Dreamliner adopters, it can expect its fair share of camera-toting airline geeks.
Still, I often feel a bit self-conscious whipping out a digital SLR during a flight.
That’s my issue, though, and nothing to do with United Airlines. I guess I prefer to suppress my nerdiness at least a little!
Let me throw something else into the equation – the most-pleasant flight I’ve ever had was on an Asiana Airlines 777.
It was my first 777 flight; I noticed the quiet, and there seemed to be a spaciousness about the cabin. I also loved the water fountains – I could take a stroll and fill up my water bottle at any time. So I’m eager just to experience the 787 Dreamliner and its next step forward in airliner design from the 777. The fuel efficiency is great for United Airlines and other Dreamliner operators – but I’d like to think passengers will get some air travel comfort out of it, too.
But what about the Dreamliner and its laundry list of problems?
I think it’s all overblown. The Airbus A380 and A330 had their problems. So did the DC-10, you might recall. The latest 787 Dreamliner problem involved a brake indicator – hardly worth any panic. Previously, it was an anti-icing system glitch … also hardly the stuff of a script for Airplane III (though an updated Airplane movie would rock). I’m confident enough to give it a go.