Finally, the 787 is flying again and I was able to snag a seat aboard one of United’s first flights after the grounding! United started flying the 787 again on May 20th between IAH and ORD and will continue to roll out the plane on a number of routes before the June 10th debut of the much delayed Denver – Narita inauguration. Although my flight between Houston and Chicago was scheduled to be a short 2 hour hop, thankfully due to bad weather, it was extended to almost a full 3 hours! During this time, I was able to experience the plane and test out all the functions of the new united 787-business class product.
The plane overall is a beauty! Everything from the unique noise of the plane to the curvature of the wings stand out and the 787 is hard to mistake for any other plane! (Not to mention the unique paint job/strip deceivers the plane from others) Despite this, it’s not until you are on board where you can really appreciate the new technology – especially when the plane is flying!
Unlike other airplanes, the 787 stands out because it offers a number of upgrades and features that no other airplane has seen before. Immediately upon boarding, the Boeing Sky interior (also available on the 737), stood out. Instead of the boring white lights illuminating the cabin, soft warm blue lights welcome guests aboard. Then the large overhead bins, which can fit a carry on of all sizes, appear to be floating above the center aisles and do not appear to be attached to the center fuselage! It’s almost as if Harry Potter has bewitched em’ to float in place –clearly a trick of the eyes and brain! Yet seriously, my very large carry on with expanded pockets easily fit and I didn’t’ have to push, shove or remove anything from the outer pockets! AMAZING if you ask me! The only problem that I noticed was maneuvering down the business class cabin. The slanted angel of the business class seats make it was difficult to walk with carry on bags/trolleys. And since the ENTIRE plane boards from the forward door, I saw a number of people having issues pulling their trolleys aboard, bumping each seat as they embarked.
Left Window Completely Darken, Right Window “open”
My seat was 4L and was an extremely comfortable lay flat business class seat in the first row of the “rear” or second business class cabin. The bulkhead seat provided me with a few extra inches of leg room, and despite being a bulkhead seat I still had under seat storage (or more like under foot rest storage) for my personal items. The seat itself was very comfortable in all positions, and believe me, I played with the controls for most of the flight. While lying flat, the seat was great for someone of my size and stature, however, for anyone larger than 6 feet or maybe of a wider waist, the seat could feel tight. After all, I’m 5’10’ (or 178cm) and only 160 lbs (74 Kgs), so I am not of any girth at all. Those of larger sizes would be better off in Singapore Business class product. Either way, the seat was very comfortable and great for such a short flight! I’m looking forward to experiencing on a long haul!
The flight was tremendously enjoyable and it was fun to watch the plane’s anti-turbulence system in action. With bad weather over the central United States, our route took us Northwest over the panhandle of Oklahoma before turning east for Chicago. The wing flaps were active throughout the flight, consistently adjusting for turbulence. Although the ride was still bumpy, I can only imagine how it would have been like on a 757 without the anti-turbulence system!
The only down side to the aircraft was the IFE. There were issues with the TVs in the back of the plane, which caused the flight attendants to reboot the entire system. This would not be a bother, but the IFE and seat controls are tied to the same system. This means when the IFE goes out, your seat is stuck! I was sitting in a recline to bed like position when they reset the IFE, causing me to be stuck somewhere between laying down and sitting up. It provided good laughs for me and the woman alongside me as neither of us expected the seats to stop working. Therefore take note, be in a comfortable position if they announce they are going to reboot the IFE!
From the windows to the seats, the 787 is a very unique plane and offers a lot of upgrades and will definitely provide a unique flying experience for anyone. No detail was overlooked and the plane even has motion sensor toilet flushes and tabs to lift the toilet seat by. Clearly, attention to detail and nothing was overlooked when designing this plane!
All in all the 787 is a beautiful plane! I can’t wait to fly it again and I think everyone should take an opportunity to fly the plane if one arises. It did smell like burning plastic when we landed at Chicago and started to disembark the plane, but luckily no fire crews were called to the plane and the plane did take off back to Houston shortly after. Therefore, I guess in this case, such a smell is normal. Either way, I am ecstatic to have the 787 back in the air and I thank United for providing me with an opportunity to experience the plane! The new product is a great addition to the United Family and fleet!