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Airplane Envy: Boeing’s New 787 Dreamliner

Photo by Andrew W. Sieber

By Carissa Bluestone

Today a maiden-voyage-obsessed Miami businessman is settling into an airplane seat worth $33,500, as Boeing’s long-hyped 787 Dreamliner makes its first commercial flight: a charter on All Nippon Airways (ANA) from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to Hong Kong.

The Dreamliner's first-class cabin. Photo by John Pozadzides.

Boeing has put billions of dollars into developing the Dreamliner. CNN has a good rundown on what makes this aircraft special, as does USA Today. Basically, the carbon-fiber composite materials that comprise 50% of the airplane (by weight) allow for some innovations that could never be achieved in an aircraft primarily composed of aluminum. What us regular flyers will notice is the higher humidity and lower cabin pressure, both of which sound ominous, but actually translate to more comfortable flights. The Dreamliner’s coach cabin is also roomier and quieter than any other comparable craft, and features larger windows with “smart glass” instead of shades.

Despite some naysayers in the media who question the Dreamliner’s safety and preparedness to fly—and a few resulting cancellations—Boeing is struggling to keep up with its nearly 800 orders, so it may be some time before you encounter one of these beauties at the gate.


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