What's new for Boeing's 787-9?
Aside from this specific plane being the freshest out of the factory, there are some very definite improvements over the 787-8 while still boasting improved passenger comforts, 30% larger windows, 20% better fuel efficiency, and fewer emissions than similarly sized aircraft.
· It's 20' longer. (206' versus the 787-8's 186' length)
· Depending on configuration, between 40-80 more passengers can travel on the 787-9.
· More space means more area for fuel; the 787-9 can take over 3,000 more gallons of fuel and, with it, fly further for use on longer routes.
· A higher maximum takeoff weight allows for more cargo.
· Whereas the 787-8 is designed to replace 767-200s and 767-300s, the 787-9 has the numbers to replace A330s and 767-400s.
What's new on Air New Zealand's 787-9?
While new 787-9s leaving Boeing's factory will cut the same silhouette in the skies, their interiors are open for discussion. Air New Zealand has chosen a 3-class layout for theirs, consisting of Business Premier Class, a revamped Premium Economy, and Economy Class (the latter with a few "Skycouch" rows).
· Business Premier: chalk-color leather lie-flat seats. They are 22" wide at seat, 33" wide at shoulder, a 79" bed length. The tray table is adjustable to allow for dual dining, as in having someone over to your seat to share a meal (they sit on your footrest). In-flight entertainment is the Panasonic eX3 system via a personal 11" monitor and premium headphones, a USB charge port, and one power outlet per seat.
· Premium Economy: ink-color leather recliner seats with a 9" recline and 41" of legroom with extendable legrest. They're 19.3" wide at the hip, and some elbow room is given thanks to a wider, 5" armrest between seats. In-flight entertainment is the Panasonic eX3 system via a personal 11" monitor and headphones, a USB charge port, and one power outlet per seat.
· Economy: Slimline upholstered seats with 5" recline with 31-33" of legroom. They're 17.2" wide at the hip and have headrests with improved flexibility. The selected Skycouch rows form a bed space of 5' 1" long. [What is 'Skycouch?'] In-flight entertainment is the Panasonic eX3 system via a personal 9" touchscreen monitor and headphones, a USB charge port, and a power outlet at every other seat.
· Lavatories also see an upgrade, as Dreamliners feature motion-activated auto-flush toilets and covers. Air NZ even peps it up with snazzy wallpapers.
she's all dressed in black and ready to give you the ride of your life." This is a special paint job to honor New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team. Air New Zealand has a small variety of their other aircraft sporting the same look, but they figured since this is their first 787-9, that it too should share in the limited livery love. Future Air NZ 787-9s to be delivered will take the skies with a white fuselage and black tail with the signature Koru Maori symbol but absent the All Blacks fern.
How to see Air New Zealand's 787-9 for yourself?
· Attend the massive Farnborough Air Show in the UK, where the fifth AirNZ 787-9 will be on display from July 14-18 only.
· Book on the inaugural route of Auckland to Perth, commencing October 15, 2014
· Book future routes, looking for the B789 as the aircraft. Future AirNZ 787-9 service in 2014 includes Auckland - Tokyo, Auckland - Shanghai, and Christchurch - Tokyo. Expect further destination announcements for 2015, as AirNZ is due to receive 10 787-9s in total.
For the latest details and flight specials on Air New Zealand's 787-9, check out its official website.
We attended the 787-9 first delivery ceremonies as a guest of Air New Zealand and Boeing, but all photos and opinions are completely our own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]