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The rule of three is a writing concept that suggests things are more satisfying when presented in groups of three. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad must have taken this to heart when planning their big reveal today, as they've not only gone ahead and welcomed their first superjumbo Airbus A380, but also thrown in a new Boeing 787-9, and a complete revamp of the crew uniforms.
The big advancements here are Economy seats with fixed headrests (supposedly covered in locally sourced camel leather) for easier napping for both airplanes, and brand new premium classes. The A380 is the show-stopper, with the "Business Studio" and "First Apartment" seats adopting a residential elegance that has a good chance of making passengers forget they're even on a plane. And there's no ignoring the Etihad Residence, a private jet cabin within a superjumbo, for a First Class above First.
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How you doing? That’s what we’d like to say to American Airlines’ brand new Boeing 787. It just rolled out of the hangar complete with the airline’s new livery on the new plane, and we have to say that it looks pretty darn snazzy.
Right now the only place you can check it out is over in Everett, Washington, but if all goes according to plan it’ll be in the hands of the pilots and people over at American Airlines before the end of the year.
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This isn't just any 787, either. Virgin Atlantic is the first European airline to welcome the longer, cooler 787-9 to their fleet, and they do so on their own 30th birthday as an airline, hence the aircraft's name, "Birthday Girl" G-VNEW.
Inside are 198 Economy, 35 Premium Economy, and 31 Upper Class seats, plus a new "Wander Wall" concept in Premium Economy. This is essentially a snack-and-chat station, since the bar is reserved for Upper Class only. Speaking of that barit's been redesigned to fit within the 787-9, but you'll still be able to pop on a barstool and order a Virgin Redhead somewhere 38,000' above the Atlantic Ocean. Instagram it instantly, thanks to long-haul in-flight WiFi onboard.
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[Also check out Part 1, Business Class]
Premium Economy is so hot right now.
Or, rather, the class between Economy and Business has been a popular addition to aircraft for many years now, every since Virgin Atlantic introduced it way, way back in 1992(!!), but some airlines have held off and, in turn, benefitted from the wait by introducing Premium Economy classes with all the latest bells and whistles.
Flying AC00611 hours back from Tokyo-Haneda to Toronto-Pearsonwe settled into a window seat and experienced what this new class for Air Canada was all about.
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[Also check out Part 2, Premium Economy and Economy]
"Whoever said man wasn't meant to fly didn't see this coming."
These were the words printed on a banner welcoming passengers to gate 172 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2014.
Outside the windows was one of Air Canada's airplanes, sitting chill in her ice blue livery and scarlet maple leaf logo while a flurry of ground vehicles prepared her for a 12-hour flight to Tokyo. Passengers waiting to board forwent selfies and instead pointed their cameras outside, at this aircraft which stars in the celebration of a new era for Canadian aviation.
But, um, hasn't Air Canada been flying from Toronto to Tokyo for, like, decades? Yes, yes they have, but never before to the Japanese capital's other, very recently updated and better located airport of Haneda, and never before with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Flight AC005 is non-stop from YYZ to HND, a lengthy trip which gives the benefits of the 787the greater cabin humidity, lower altitude level, improved personal space, and fuel efficiencya chance to strut their stuff. It was, in fact, the longest flight we've ever done in a 787, and absolutely one of the best in our own travel log.
Now, let's delve into the delicious details:
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Just when it seemed that front page focus on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would peter out now that Boeing has delivered over 160 of them, the aircraft is again making headlines with the launch of a new version: the 787-9.
What that little "-9" brings is a bigger plane, as we've explained, and this week marks the introduction of the airliner to its first regularly scheduled commercial routes.
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We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
When flight AC 5 left Toronto Pearson International Airport on July 15, it was more than the start of a routine 11.5-hour stretch from Toronto to Tokyo-Haneda; that particular flight meant the official inaugural of Air Canada's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner and her brand-spanking-new interiors which included a revamped Business Class and completely fresh Premium Economy.
We flew both during the cause of one roundtrip on the route (which is relatively new itself), and stay tuned for the full report next week. For now, a peek into the swag flyers are handed to improve in-flight comfort:
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Qatar Airways has 9 Dreamliners operating a number of routes out of its brand-spanking new (and humongous) Hamad International Airport in Doha, and an additional 51 on order from Boeing. We recently did a business class return between Stockholm and Doha, which gave us enough time to explore its swanky interiors.
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New airplane alert!
163 Boeing 787 Dreamliners are flying the skies right now, a number current as of this week. That includes 162 787-8s and 1 lonely 787-9 for Air New Zealand, which only headed from Boeing's headquarters in Everett, WA to its new home of Auckland, New Zealand at dawn this morning.
That 787-9 won't be lonely for long, however; over 25 airlines have placed orders for more than 400 of the sleek and efficient jets. So why are we getting excited for yet another Dreamliner? The answer is shockingly simple: it's awesomer. Sure, the original flavor 787-8 is great and Boeing will continue to roll them out, but the 787-9 is, as Daft Punk would sing, "harder, better, faster, stronger."
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Virgin Atlantic used the occasion of its 30th birthday a few days ago (the airline flew its inaugural flight on June 22, 1984) to announce where it will be sending its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner when it joins the fleet this fall: Boston. Appropriately enough, the airplane will be called “Birthday Girl."
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Good news for fans of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—like us—as the latest and greatest version of the airplane has been cleared to take to the skies.
Just the other day regulators and rule makers in both the United States and Europe gave the green light for the plane to continue on its way to the commercial skies. The approval has been granted to the bigger and badder version of the plane, as this one is the 787-9. It will be roughly 20 more feet in length when compared to its 787-8 sibling, and of course that means there’s room for a few more passengers as well.
So far there are 26 different airlines and aviation enthusiasts that have placed an order for this plane, and all in all Boeing is getting ready to deliver 413 of the new jets. Air New Zealand is scheduled to be the very first to fly the 787-9, and their plane should be reaching cruising altitude—complete with commercial passengers—before the year comes to an end.
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport
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AA will be the second carrier in the United States to score a little Dreamliner action, and flight crew is already hard at work learning the ins and outs of the airplane. Depending on one’s experience, it can take anywhere from ten days to a month before getting the approval to move from the simulator into the real planes.