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Transportation Technology

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes First Passenger Flight 190

Posted by timothy
from the no-cheap-seats-I-bet dept.
After years of delays in production, technical worries, and technical advances, Zothecula writes with this excerpt that says "The 787 Dreamliner has entered commercial service. The mid-size airliner's first passenger-carrying outing took place earlier today when Boeing's launch customer All Nippon Airways flew 240 passengers on a four and a half hour charter flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Two hour-long 'domestic excursion flights' out of Tokyo are planned for October 28 and 29 before regular domestic flights commence on November 1."
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes First Passenger Flight

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  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:32AM (#37856386)

    They will replace all the seats with much smaller ones, So the next flight can carry 500 people. They will get rid of the cool colors and go with 1970's beige and bland lighting. And what ever else they can think of to make sure flying isn't enjoyable.

    • by blahbooboo (839709) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:36AM (#37856480)

      Very true. However, we are ALL at fault. As long as people shop by price and not quality it will be a race to the bottom for airline service and comfort.

      I support better service by using airlines that offer economy plus and pay the extra money. Do you?

      • by sjames (1099) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:40AM (#37856594) Homepage

        Part of the problem is that truth in advertizing went out the window ages ago in this country. The only decision factor that can actually be nailed down as factual is the price, so that's what everyone decides on.

        • by w_dragon (1802458) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:43AM (#37856640)
          Have you shopped for an airline ticket recently? I don't think price can be nailed down very easily either...
          • by 0123456 (636235)

            Have you shopped for an airline ticket recently? I don't think price can be nailed down very easily either...

            Indeed. Last time I flew the ticket was around $400 and then there was about a $600 'fuel surcharge'. It's as though I'm supposed to believe I can fly across the Atlantic and back without using any fuel.

            Then, of course, there was the $25 for an overweight bag, the $50 for a second bag, etc, etc, etc.

            So prices are very difficult to determine without going through the full booking process and checking the small print.

            • by kingturkey (930819) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @12:34PM (#37858462)

              It's not just airlines that do this though, everything in the US is advertised at a misleading price. You go into a news agent and the packet of gum that says $2 on the shelf actually costs $2.20 or something. It's baffling to me how advertising as if taxes and other charges don't exist can be legal and not fall afoul of consumer protection laws that prohibit misleading and deceptive conduct.

              Airlines in Australia have to advertise their flights at the actual price that you have to pay, whereas in the US you have to click through 3-5 pages in the ordering process, possibly registering beforehand before they'll actually tell you the real price, as opposed to the price for some imaginary world where you don't have to pay taxes or airport fees or anything else.

          • by sjames (1099)

            I must say, I have not. I'd be too tempted to give the TSA a snappy Seig Heil.

            • I must say, I have not. I'd be too tempted to give the TSA a snappy Seig Heil.

              And you'd be well within your rights under the Constitution to do that very thing.. However in our current bat-shit insane world, you'd be hassled, likely arrested, and prevented from boarding your flight, and put on a "list".. Those of us who see clearly how insanely UNamerican the whole DHS/TSA thing is, seem to be the minority anymore. I hear endless cries of "if you don't want to be inspected, just don't fly".. ummm... no... The Constitution does not say "4th Amendment only applies to non-flying citizen

        • Airlines are pretty darn explicit in exactly what you will get-- prior to flying on my 777 2 weeks ago I was able to find out exactly what amenities would be available pretty easily. And every time Ive shopped for a ticket, I remember seeing exactly how many inches of legroom I would get.

          I think airline seating is, actually, one of the MOST explicit areas when it comes to "what am I getting", Im really not sure where your complaint comes from. And if you want to know the exact conditions of the seat on a

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I cannot do that, because as United proves "economy plus" means 2 inches more leg room on a plane too old to have any in flight entertainment, worse than average food and flights that never take off on time.

        • I cannot do that, because as United proves "economy plus" means 2 inches more leg room on a plane too old to have any in flight entertainment, worse than average food and flights that never take off on time.

          It used to mean 5. I think they made up for it by shrinking the regular seats by 3 inches.

          I used to be United-only. Then my girlfriend introduced me to Southwest. The boarding process was funny (just A, B and C at the time) and no in-flight entertainment, but they almost always got me in on time and they served Dr. Pepper. In contrast, United's customer service has gotten more elitist and boarding a flight is a fight for over-head space (the last Southwest flight I was on had half-empty overhead bins

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            EVERY time I've flown Southwest my baggage went somewhere else, and my sample size is about 5 round-trips scattered over a period of years.

            I'll take a 30 minute delay (which BTW, usually has to do with Yokels on the tarmac and less to do with the airline, because I do listen to ramp chatter and ground control while I'm waiting) over a game of "Where In The World Is My Friggin' Luggage?"

          • by smashr (307484)

            I cannot do that, because as United proves "economy plus" means 2 inches more leg room on a plane too old to have any in flight entertainment, worse than average food and flights that never take off on time.

            It used to mean 5. I think they made up for it by shrinking the regular seats by 3 inches.

            From http://www.seatguru.com/ [seatguru.com] :

            American Airlines: 31" seat pitch is standard
            US Airways: 30-32" seat pitch
            Virgin Atlantic: 31-32" seat pitch is standard (just to preempt the 'omg non-US airlines are better')
            Southwest: 32-33" seat pitch
            United: 31" standard, 34-36" for economy+. The vast majority of the mainline fleet is 36" pitch in E+, with the notable exception of the 747 which is 34".

            Thus most of the time, you are in fact getting 4-5" extra legroom in Economy Plus, and no the 'Economy Minus' seats are no w

        • Flights taking off on time is, AFAIK, a function more of the airport than of the specific airline-- I might be wrong on this, but delays tend to be stuff like "runway needs to be deiced" or "traffic controller is slacking and the runway is busy", not "united has decided to screw you over today".

          Protip: avoid BWI and Ohare as much as possible.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            12 hours of delays, 3 broken planes.
            No sure how the airport would make the planes broken.

            • No sure how the airport would make the planes broken.

              If it was O'hare, you would be surprised :)

              In all seriousness, I cant comment on that as I have never run across it. If it is an issue endemic to United, possibly I have been lucky, but I assume that these things will happen occasionally with any company that has been around long enough. Possibly a run of bad luck?

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        But who really cares. As long as the flight is safe, most people don't care if they have an uncomfortable seating for a few hours. I wouldn't mind standing up like on the SkyRider [wikipedia.org] if it meant the flight would only cost half as much. Not everyone is looking for a luxury vacation all the time. Sometimes, people just want to get where they are going. If I wanted a nice journey, I wouldn't take a plane to begin with.
        • by jandrese (485)
          I wish it were possible (FAA Regs would be a serious problem) to have the slide in beds like in the Fifth Element for red-eye flights. I can never sleep worth a damn when sitting bolt upright with no head support (and those stupid neck pillows don't work) and it makes the whole flight a chore. If I could lay down for the flight I would be much happier.
          • Oh you can lay down if you pay enough for that seat and class that allows it. Most of the time flying overseas, business class and higher have fold down seats on most airlines. Domestic? Hahahahahahaha.
          • I wish it were possible (FAA Regs would be a serious problem) to have the slide in beds like in the Fifth Element for red-eye flights. I can never sleep worth a damn when sitting bolt upright with no head support (and those stupid neck pillows don't work) and it makes the whole flight a chore. If I could lay down for the flight I would be much happier.

            Some Amtrak routes still have sleeper cars. Sadly Amtrak rarely go from where you are to where you want to go.

      • by MorePower (581188)
        What annoys me is that nobody offers what is really needed - more elbow room.

        My legs fit fine in nearly all airline seats. I hate having to try to suck my arms into my torso in a desperate attempt to avoid physical contact with the stranger next to me.

        Business Class fares are completely astronomical. I might consider paying 10%, 20%, or even 50% more to avoid sharing an armrest (that isn't even adequate for one person, let alone two). But last time I checked, Business Class tickets were about $5000, aro
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        I fly an airline that provides excellent service, is friendly, accommodating, has more legroom than their big competitor AND usually costs less.

    • by Nick Fel (1320709)
      At eight abreast the seats don't look unusually big to me. As for the lighting, personally I'd rather not fly in some kind of rainbow technicolour dream... oh right, I get the name now.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      No, this is a non-US carrier. They tend to be a little better, small seats but nicer lighting, decor, entertainment and food.

    • by spooje (582773)

      They will get rid of the cool colors and go with 1970's beige and bland lighting. And what ever else they can think of to make sure flying isn't enjoyable.

      Nah, the lights will stay. These days most trans-pacific flights have those multi-colored lights. Having blue or red lights instead of the white let people adjust to "night time" conditions, like the red lights on a sub. This helps peoples' circadian rhythm from getting messed up too much.

    • by joggle (594025) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:46AM (#37856708) Homepage Journal

      Customers only have so much flexibility with the 787. No passenger 787 can be bought that does not include the cool lights and darkening windows. They can add more seats, but nothing close to 500 of course. The 787 that could carry the most is the 787-9, at nearly 300.

      The 787 is designed as a replacement to the old 767 and carries roughly the same number of passengers. It has a slightly longer range with the main improvements being passenger comfort (lights, windows, reduced cabin noise) and greater efficiency (uses about 20% less fuel than the 767).

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Ask Continental, I don't know how do they manage to make the seats so uncomfortable to everyone without increasing something else. Sounds like chaos theory.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      You can buy business class and first class tickets. Lots of airlines have an "Economy Plus" or "Economy Premium" or whatever level too - without the huge hike in price from Economy -> Business (and without the business class frills too) but with more legroom and so on.

      So do you pay extra for the better ticket? Or just buy whatever orbitz/priceline/travelocity gives as the cheapest option?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        That does not help the food situation or the ancient plane problem. Avoiding US airlines generally does.

        • by jandrese (485)
          That also avoids the cheap ticket "problem" though, so it's a bit of a wash.
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Not really, generally adds a small cost. If you swing it right you can get a "Delta" flight that is actually on Lufthansa planes with Lufthansa crews. Only to Europe of course.

    • Having just flown on a Boeing 777, I would suggest that you are overly cynical. The flight was enjoyable even given my freakishly long legs and the realities of economy seating. Per-seat tv screens, a large selection of free music and movies, and a very spacious cabin that did not feel cramped (even as my legs complained).

      I would guess due to your cynicism that you mostly fly short hops, and in that case the 787 really isnt for you anyways. And as regards the plane color, would you prefer that they charg

      • by jpmorgan (517966)

        Unfortunately, those kinds of interior detail are chosen by the airline, not Boeing. Although I have to say, the bathrooms on the 777 are quite spacious, for an airplane.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Sir, I'm showing that we have a window seat, a luggage rack seat, and an unpressurized cargo hold seat available.

  • by fotbr (855184) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:33AM (#37856424) Journal

    The charter was yesterday, and covered by many more reputable sources including the BBC.

  • That might have been cool back in the 70s, not so much now. How long were those delays?
    • by tiberus (258517) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:54AM (#37856840)

      Based on the segment on the TV news last night, it doesn't appear that the lights are intended to be used as in the photo in the article. I'd guess that display and photo are to showcase the range of colors that can be displayed. The TV news segment alluded to the lighting colors being used to make the passengers calm and comfortable especially on long flights. The lighting would be changed gradually during the course of the flight. The psychological effects of color have been researched for sometime, it's interesting to seem that research put to another practical use.

  • Slashdot - where nerds get their news - a day late

    Even TFA says "Oct 26". C'mon, have your coffee already!

  • Disappointing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @10:48AM (#37856750)

    Asian airlines are always the first to buy new airplanes. Their fleets are always newer than what you'll find with American airline companies. And having traveled a good bit over the years, I've always found service on Asian airlines light years beyond what's offered by carriers here, at the same price point. American flight attendants tend to be pissy, rude and impatient even on shorter flights. If you happen to sit near the back you're privy to them complaining about work. On the Asian airlines, even on 18 hour flights, the flight attendants have always been courteous and helpful. They're as friendly near the end of the flight as they were at the start.

    It's pretty sad that an economy so heavily based on service is so bad at it. Now wonder American airline companies are always struggling to be profitable. But I suppose it's good that a plane built in the US, well at least parts of it, still sells.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Even the Euro carriers are better than the American ones. I wish we would let foreign carriers compete on flights that have both end points in the USA. Might make them at least consider some customer service.

      It does not seem to be a geography problem, Air Canada is fine.

      • Union problem?

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Can't imagine.
          Surely the EU carriers are even more union friendly. The Germans are big on their unions for sure, and Lufthansa is a great carrier. I bet the Canadians are all unioned up too.

          • Go read up on the problems British Airways has with the Unite union :)

            • by 0123456 (636235)

              Go read up on the problems British Airways has with the Unite union :)

              From what I've read BA and Unite seemed able to reach agreements fairly easily, but the BA cabin crew union that's a part of Unite kept voting not to accept it. The end result is that their final agreement seemed to be significantly worse than the terms they were being offered before the strike.

        • by Forbman (794277)

          Management problem. The higher up management goes, the more it is concerned with "shareholders" (often times, this does include themselves), and the employee base is just dog crap stuck to their shoes that they can't quite get off.

      • Even the Euro carriers are better than the American ones. I wish we would let foreign carriers compete on flights that have both end points in the USA. Might make them at least consider some customer service.

        It does not seem to be a geography problem, Air Canada is fine.

        The good Euro carriers, at least. EasyJet is the worst airline I've every flown, followed by Ryan Air. I guess that the Chinese flight I took a few years back would qualify as the worst I've ever had if I could consider it to be a proper airline instead of a collection of debris hurdling through the sky. On average, though, my experience matches yours. Air France/British/Lufthansa are nicer than Delta/United/American.

        • Blah, I meant hurtling, though hurdles might have explained some things about that flight.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          KLM was quite good last time I used it as well.

          United is totally bottom of the barrel, I bet Aeroflot looks down on them.

        • Interesting. I agree about Ryan Air. I could not imagine a worse airline. I have never flown easy jet and certain never Chinese.

          However, I find AA and UAL to be superior to Luthansa. The passengers are on top of each other in Luthansa, and the FAs really were not that nice. AA/UAL international have been enjoyable for me (domestically, they both sux).
      • by Solandri (704621)
        United and Lufthansa are codeshare partners. My last trip to Europe, I got booked on Lufthansa for the flight to, and United for the flight back. Both times I was seated near the center service area where the flight attendants park their carts. On the Lufthansa flight the FAs were constantly busy offering drinks, toys for kids, magazines, wet towels, etc. The longest gap between a FA walking by was about 10-15 min. On the United flight, I only saw the FAs during the meal and drink service, and a couple
      • by icebrain (944107)

        Airline customers in the US don't care about service if it costs even another dime more. The airlines have learned that 95% of US passengers care about:

        1. Low price
        2. Low price
        3. Low price
        4. Low price
        5. Low price
        6. Schedule
        7. Low price ....

        Customers whine a lot about not having a TV to stare at for the whole flight, not having hot 4-start-restaurant-quality food, or not having a young skinny flight attendant to hit on, but in the end, money talks, and the cheapest flight gets chosen.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I've flown quite a bit and I've generally found the attendants to be quite polite. I don't think I've ever seen an attendant I would describe as rude or pissy. The only time I ever heard one even act the slightest bit tiffed was once when confronted by a very rude passenger. I usually fly Delta, so maybe they're different or something.

    • by dbc (135354)

      Well, that is the opposite of my experience on Malaysia Airlines. 747 crammed with the maximum number of seats, every seat filled, minimum crew, each "worked" half the flight doing the bare minimum, and got surly if you asked for so much as a glass of water if it forced them to get out of their seats. Totally miserable 13 hour flight.

    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @11:44AM (#37857628) Journal
      American fleets are required to not look at age, etc. In addition, they can no longer insist on the no-marriage, lose job after age 30 or 40, etc. In asia, they have the same old rules that America had back in the 60's. Europe is fairly similar to Asia, but not by design. For example, you will find that in europe, most of the FAs are NOT married. The norm for many nations is that a woman works when single, but quits upon marriage and certainly quits while raising kids. That is why when you fly german Lufthansa, it is male FAs. Once the women are in their late 30s and wanting to return the european airlines will NOT hire them.

      As to American fleets, the older housewife FAs fly the short domestic routes, so that they are home at nights. The internationals pay a BIT more, but not enough to entice them. Most of the internationals are junior FAs, OR have no kids(BTW, this is the exact opposite of the cockpit; those guys have SENIORITY). So, you will find that most of the FAs on all international flights are pretty decent, though at the moment, Asian and middle eastern fleets are younger and nicer.

      Finally, I have to say that my Dad is retired AA capt. while my sister is working at USAirways. I grew up flying AA but rarely do it anymore for domestic. The same is true for United. I used to prefer Frontier, but now go with SouthWest. The FAs ARE friendlier and happier and it reflects in how ppl are treated. But for going europe, I take United or American 777s. Best plane going with great service.

      BTW, skip ryan air. THEY SUX.
      • by HungWeiLo (250320)
        BTW, skip ryan air. THEY SUX.

        Just treat them like a bus, don't buy any extras, and it's all good. Hard to beat flying from Spain to Morocco for only 7 EUR.
      • In asia, they have the same old rules that America had back in the 60's. Europe is fairly similar to Asia, but not by design. For example, you will find that in europe, most of the FAs are NOT married. The norm for many nations is that a woman works when single, but quits upon marriage and certainly quits while raising kids. That is why when you fly german Lufthansa, it is male FAs. Once the women are in their late 30s and wanting to return the european airlines will NOT hire them.

        Have you actually flown on any European or Asian carriers lately? Because my recollections of the numerous flights I've taken on European and East Asian carriers in and between the two regions I've taken over the last 10 years or so don't seem to be anything like yours.

        And the stuff about European women not working after they have kids--in the airlines or any other industry--is complete horseshit.

    • by deblau (68023)

      Americans tend to be pissy, rude and impatient

      Fixed that for you

    • by HungWeiLo (250320)

      Had a fine time on a short SwissAir flight. It was a short Zurich to Barcelona shuttle (1 hr?). There was supposed to be a sandwich snack service (yes, really!) even for a 1-hr flight. It was cancelled due to high turbulence. The shaking stopped as we were on the landing descent, then the FAs quickly whipped out the food carts and served the sandwiches during the descent, and picked up the garbage from everyone before the landing gear went down. Pure German efficiency.

  • It's not hard to imagine that Boeing actually drove the delays - at least in part - themselves to try to find a way out of their labor contracts. They love to hate the workers up there, but the workers can't do much when the supply line isn't supplying.
    • It's not hard to imagine that Boeing actually drove the delays - at least in part - themselves to try to find a way out of their labor contracts.

      I appreciate the general distaste for a lot of union behavior but the union appear to have little to do with the delays. The delays were largely a result of Boeing trying to outsource a lot of sub-assembly work to smaller companies, many of which it turned out were not sufficiently capable to handle the increase in complexity. They had various part shortages, design issues and other delays. You don't have to take my word for it either [wikipedia.org].

  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Thursday October 27, 2011 @11:20AM (#37857216) Journal

    Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but there really are very, very few airliners that are actually beautiful. I think Boeing have finally built a beautiful airliner, and it's the wing that makes the 787 so beautiful, from its graceful curve in-flight, to the tapered winglets and the high aspect ratio that makes the aircraft look very reminiscent of a modern carbon fibre glider, to even things like the flight deck windows which blend into the design.

    As I said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but these are probably the only airliners I would actually call "beautiful":

    - Lockheed Constellation, with its gracefully curved and tapering fuselage (from an era where everyone else's airliner looked like a sausage with wings).
    - Concorde. I don't think I need to explain. (No, the Tu-144 doesn't qualify, although superficially similar to Concorde as in it has delta wings, it's actually pretty ugly - the wing doesn't have Concorde's graceful 3 dimensional shape, the flight deck windows just look awful and those canards...good grief).
    - And now the Boeing 787.

    Yes, there are probably others that people find beautiful of course, and I've probably missed or forgotten some (I think the last version of the Comet, the Comet 4 strongly qualifies with the engines hidden in the wings) but the three above are the ones I find most aesthetically pleasing.

  • ...and as someone who contributed to the shipping software on it, I'd like to be the first to say THANK GOD FINALLY! It was a long, hard road to completion, but I think the plane's going to do really well.
  • There was a crying baby the whole flight in seat 22C with a mother that is trying to reason with it.

    Also the scumbag in 47B hogging the arm rest, I'm stealing your bag of peanuts!

  • At least what I know unless they changed the specs recently. Legacy airliners lower cabin pressure equivalent to 6,000 (or to 8,000?) feet but 787 will have higher cabin pressure so you will not be as hypotic. Of course 6K is not much but recent transcontinental flight where I had to do a lot boring spreadsheet work, it was difficult keeping "awake." With less O2 to my brain, that was a loooonnnnnggggg flight.

    Some people are more impacted by lower O2 level, I know someone who cannot handle Lake Tahoe ver

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