United Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ahead of the launch of Melbourne-Los Angeles services in October.
The 787-9 will be used initially on domestic US routes, ahead of its international debut to Melbourne on October 26.
United’s first commercial flight with the larger version of the Dreamliner was scheduled as UA1086 on September 20, departing Houston Intercontinental Airport at 1440 local time for an expected arrival at Los Angeles International at 1608 local time. The aircraft would then spend the night in Los Angeles before operating UA1125 back to Houston, according to schedules loaded into global distribution booking systems.
United also planned to fly the 787-9 to Newark, Denver and San Francisco ahead of the Melbourne-Los Angeles route – which will be the longest 787 scheduled flight in the world to date at 6,883nm or 12,748km – starting on October 26.
“The 787-9 builds on the Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency and customer comfort while giving us even more flexibility and range,” United’s vice-president of fleet Ron Baur said in a statement.
“Last year our customers gave the 787 the highest customer satisfaction scores of any aircraft in our fleet, and we know they’ll enjoy what the 787-9 has to offer.”
United’s 787-9 have 252 seats – 48 in business, 88 in economy plus and 116 in economy – and wi-fi connectivity installed.
The carrier has 26 of the larger Dreamliner model on order.
Air New Zealand was the first airline to operate the 787-9 to Australia when the aircraft entered commercial service between Auckland and Sydney on August 9.