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Photos and Video: Inside and All Around LAN's Very First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

September 4, 2012 at 1:21 PM | by | ()

New airplane alert! On Saturday, September 1, LAN Airlines picked up its very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, becoming the first in the Americas to operate the aircraft. From the factory to the runway at Boeing's Paine Field in Everett, WA, we were there to kick the tires, put the seats back and get a feel for her. Stay tuned the next couple days for more Dreamliner dispatches.

It's been nearly one year since the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew off into the blue skies above Boeing's factory on its way into commercial service. And, in that year, not one airline in the Americas has gotten their hands on the American-made aircraft. Until now. Until Chile's LAN Airlines signed on the dotted line, picked up the (ceremonial) key and said hasta luego before heading down to Santiago with a shiny new 787-8.

Why's it such a big deal anyway? Oh, well, aside from years of hard work and billions of dollars behind it, the 787 has some nifty features passengers will notice right away. For one, there's ginormous auto-dimming windows made possible by the plane's construction of composite materials. Another: the 30% increase in overhead bag storage space. Yet more: less engine noise, less CO2 emissions, the addition of humidity to that horribly dry cabin air, and the ability to pressurize the cabin at a lower altitude to cut down on headaches and fatigue. Enough—let's go inside already!

The Hard Facts

· Configuration: 30 in Premium Business, arranged 2-2-2. 217 in Economy, arranged 3-3-3.
· Seat width: 23" in Premium Biz and 16.8" in Economy.
· Seat recline: 72.3" (6' 3") fully flat in Business. 6" recline in Economy.
· Legroom (pitch): 75" in Premium Biz and 31" in Economy.
· Monitors: Panasonic hi-def touchscreens measuring 15.4" in Premium Business and 9" in Economy
· Tech goodies: Each seat in Premium Biz has one power outlet, one USB plug and one multi-port for streaming your own content to the IFE. Noise-cancelling headphones tuck into a cubby beneath the armrest. Economy also has the USB plug and multi-port, and even headphones (though they aren't as nice as in Business, of course).
· Amenities: Premium Business naturally enjoys all the trappings of being front of the plane, including their new lie-flat seats with memory functions and lumbar massage. In addition to what other LAN Premium cabins boast, the Dreamliner adds a mood-lit archway in Biz. Economy passengers on LAN actually get blankets and wine with dinner, but the Dreamliner updates the experience with new lavatories, cabin mood lighting and those larger windows, so even middle seats can sort of see out.


Beginning in October, the LAN 787 Dreamliner will run between Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina. As LAN takes delivery of even more Dreamliners—they've ordered 32 total—they'll add Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid and Frankfurt to the destinations served.

What It's Got That Other 787s Don't

· A new Premium Business cabin with the Zodiac Contour Aura seat. Sound fancy? That's because it is. Only one other LAN 767 has these refreshed seats with their improved comfort, features, size, tech, footstools, and warm colors (more on that below). They're also the only lie-flat Business Class seats on 787s with the exception of ANA's newest Dreamliners.
· Integrated in-flight entertainment with Panasonic's eX2 system. On the touchscreen monitors in both classes, passengers may connect their own digital accessories to stream content.
· A warm color scheme. LAN is the first airlines to take on colors other than gray, black and blue for their Dreamliners. Sure, Ethiopian Airlines threw a little mint green in there, but that's nothing on the reds and oranges in CC-BBA, which evoke the "chromatic tonalities of South America."
· A spacious archway area half-way down Premium Business. The mood lighting is really shown off here, and although ANA opted to include it in their 787s as well, they turned it into a wine and sake nook. LAN leaves the space open and welcoming.
· Routes to South America! Let's not forget that, jeez.

So now you want to fly on it, you say? The 787 hasn't solidly shown up in the LAN system quite yet, but pricing out the Santiago to Buenos Aires roundtrips, we find it averages from $350 and up. Later this year or early next, when the LAN 787 heads from Los Angeles to Lima, that route should start from $850.

Disclosure: We were at the delivery of the LAN 787 Dreamliner as guests of Boeing and LAN Airlines, but all photos, video and opinions are strictly our own.

[Video: Joe Corrigan/Omega Pictures. Photos: Joe Corrigan and Cynthia Drescher]

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