Give a bunch of airplane geeks and frequent travelers a new, innovative airplane and watch the excitement build.
When United Airlines flew 200 travel enthusiasts and top-tier frequent fliers on its newest jet, the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner,” it was love at first flight.
Except for some of the folks sitting back in the narrow seats of the coach cabin.
…For passengers, the Dreamliner offers slightly higher humidity in the cabin. Because it is mostly made of composite materials that won’t corrode, more moisture in the air is OK. The cabin is pressured to a lower altitude than other jets — 6,000 feet above sea level instead of 8,000 feet. That should at least slightly reduce passenger fatigue, dry eyes and headaches, lessening the impact of jet lag for some people. Engines are quieter than older jets, air filtration is better, lighting is cool and both overhead bins and cabin windows are huge.
…The trip, arranged by volunteers from the Milepoint.com online community, was the first paid charter in North America for the Dreamliner. Seats cost about $1,000 in coach and a couple thousand dollars in business class for flights from San Francisco to Houston to Chicago. Participants — most of them frequent-flier-mile addicts and road warriors — signed up not knowing they’d get the 787: The trip was sold as a 767-400 charter. But many guessed the new wide-body plane was a possibility.
McCartney notes the “rapid climb, quiet ride, high ceilings and airy cabin filled with natural light.”
But also concedes downsides, such as United’s business class seat layout and 9-across seating in coach.
Meanwhile, newsmagazine show The List came along on the MegaDO and ran this short clip. If you haven’t yet had an in-person tour of the aircraft it’s worth a viewing.