Last month, a Boeing 787 flew from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi in Kenya. What made this flight to Kenya special was that it was the first commercial flight the much-heralded Dreamliner (as it’s better known) has completed since it was withdrawn from service at the start of the year.
Believe it or not, the thing that floored one of the most advanced aircraft on the planet was a lithium battery pack and overheating problems. However, after Boeing staff spent more than 100,000 hours testing the new battery improvements, the planes have been cleared to take to the skies once again.
Over the next few months, expect to see Dreamliners flying with airlines including Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, United, Ethiopian Airlines and more. There are a number on order, too -- according to the Boeing site American Airlines currently has an order out for 42 of the innovative aircraft.
What does it mean for you and me, the people sitting in (most of the time) economy? Well, among the features Boeing is pushing are "large, dimmable windows" and a "smoother, quieter ride". Personally, that’s not enough to make me want to fly on one of these over other planes or say, the behemoth of the skies, Airbus’s A380. "Large stowage bins" might make it a little less of a scrap to get my hand luggage in an overhead bin, and the "lower cabin altitude and cleaner air" might make it more of a pleasant trip for longer flights.
Would I fly on it? Yes, because it’s new and I’m sure it comes with some quirky features that only really reveal themselves once you’re onboard. The hard shell seats don’t actually recline, for instance. The bottom part slides out so you don’t get your inflight meal in your face if Johnny Annoying in front of you decides he wants to sleep while you’re tucking into your salad starter. And there is an economy class bar…