Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Glancing out the window from our boarding gate… I assumed this aircraft was going to be the usual 757 that American utilizes on the LAX DFW route. The sharper nose cone and more-swept-back-than-normal wing (with only a hint of a winglet) should have been my first clue.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner brochure

Once seated on board… I’m thinking ‘this looks pretty dang nice for economy class’. Then I spied the brochure in the seat back pocket.

 

787 Dreamliner seat back console

That’s Morgan Freeman glaring at me from the seat back video screen… like he was thinking “First time on a real airliner, Farm Boy?” The seat back console included a pop out remote – game controller combo (bottom center). The black square at lower right is a universal charger outlet configured to handle any type of plug. Directly below the video screen was a USB port for charging… or  using the screen as a monitor extension for laptops. Air flow, reading light and call switches were located in the pop out remote as well. Complimentary disposable ear buds for sound were distributed.

 

_787-seat_display2

The seat back video offerings include the usual selection of games, movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc… some complimentary… some for a fee. However, I was mesmerized most by the ‘aircraft status’ selection. The location of the aircraft could be viewed in 3D. User controlled 360 degree views were possible. The projected stats at the bottom of the screen were amazing. Notice the ground speed at 630 mph, air speed at 573 mph and altitude of 41,000 feet? The 787 travels at between 41,000 and 43,000 feet on most routes.. making for a smoother, less turbulent ride… and for better fuel efficiency. The Dreamliner can cruise at an air speed upwards of 640 mph, carving an hour or more off some long haul overseas flights.

 

Seatback video screen view on 787 Dreamliner

File under ‘I’m not a pilot, but I play one on on TV – One of the view options on the “Aircraft Status” selection seemed very technical and sophisticated… as if, with the addition of a throttle and a joystick.. you could fly the aircraft from your economy class seat.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner main cabin

This is the main cabin. Instead of pull down window shades, the oversized 787 windows can be tinted by the passenger in the window seat. The window passenger has several selections options. You can choose between perfectly clear… or, by pushing a button darken the polymer window to a blue or purple tint.. controlling the degree of opacity… much like the transition lenses in prescription eyeglasses. The flight attendant can also control the tint of the windows… and did so on our flight. For example – the above photo was taken just before noon in a very bright sunny sky... yet the ‘mood lighting’ capabilities of the Dreamliner gave the distinct impression that we were on an overnight flight.  The ceiling lights changed color ever so gradually during our flight as well… designed to give the impression of a night sky and the illusion of greater height to the ceiling. Very effective, engineers at Boeing! Why not add a planetarium type projection of stars and planets? Or, project that image of Morgan Freeman glaring down from up there… after all, didn’t he play God in a couple of movies? That would get some of the more devout passengers thinking “Uh oh! Rapture!

 

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class section

This is the forward business class cabin with flatbed seats. The only time I have previously seen a herringbone layout like this was on our flight to London in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class last October. This unique layout makes for more privacy; however, Virgin Air’s configuration made it impossible for us to sit side by side. Looks like American has solved that problem.. these center seats appear to have a partition that can be raised or lowered.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner second business class cabin

This is a photo of the smaller business class cabin between the larger forward cabin and the economy section. Seat configuration looks identical to the forward cabin.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner lavatory view

The lavatories on the 787 were plentiful, spacious, easily accessible... and each had a fold down tray above the toilet.. handy for neatly folding your clothes should you get the urge to dash out and streak the cabin mid-flight.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner lavatory view

Not only were the lavatories spacious and well designed… there were red and green occupancy lights above the exterior side of entrance doors.. prominently positioned so they could easily be seen from any seat.

Additional Notes on the 787 Dreamliner –

The circulated interior air  has more moisture (humidity) than other airliners.. so the dry skin, eyes, mouth and the always-thirsty effect is greatly reduced. Also, the cabin is pressurized to a higher degree, making for better  passenger comfort, less ear popping, etc.

Did I mention.. the engines are not only 20% more fuel efficient… they are QUIET!

The number of seats, seat pitch and seating configuration of the 787 varies from airline to airline. Our economy seats on American’s aircraft were comfortable… the width seeming to be about the same as on other US carriers.. the pitch (distance from the seat in front) seemed to have an extra inch or two. Most notably, the seat cushions seemed much more comfortable than usual… I noticed that I did a lot less squirming around in my seat.

Want more specs.. and to read about the development and production history of the 787 Dreamliner… go here.

Our Verdict –

The aeronautical geniuses at Boeing have designed a next generation aircraft that enhances the experience of air travel while greatly reducing jet lag for all classes of passengersnot just those being pampered up in the front of the plane. Plus, the aircraft is “greener”… better for the environment.

And, yes… you can book your next flight… even your 787 Dreamliner flight… at Tripfinder.com.

 

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