First 787 Dreamliner Back in the Skies & Schedule of 787 Relaunches / UAL Award Availability

Yesterday, an Ethiopian Airlines 787 became the first passenger Dreamliner to take to the skies since the entire fleet was grounded back in January. The flight was operated on the relatively short route from Addis Abada (ADD) – Nairobi (NBO). At a press conference following the landing in Kenya, Boeing announced that 787 deliveries would resume in early May.

So, when can you expect other airlines to re-launch their 787s? Here’s a tentative schedule compiled by reader and 787 enthusiast Mark in SFO:

Air India -> DEL-FRA, DEL-LHR, DEL-CDG May 16th, DEL-BLR & DEL-MAA May 17th, DEL-CCU May 22nd
Ethiopian -> ADD-FRA April 28th, ADD-HRE-LUN May 1st, ADD-DXB May 2nd/May 3rd, ADD-IAD May 4th, ADD-BOM May 16th
JAL -> TBD, likely early-mid June
LAN -> June 1st SCL-LIM-LAX & June 30th SCL-MAD-FRA
LOT -> June 5th WAW-ORD & June 7th WAW-YYZ
NH -> TBD, likely end of May
Qatar -> DOH-LHR May 15th, DOH-MUC May 20th, DOH-FRA May 25th,
United -> IAH-DEN May 31st, DEN-NRT June 10th

Unfortunately, if your planning on redeeming miles for the UA IAH-DEN or DEN-NRT flights, the grounding hasn’t exactly increased award availability. I couldn’t find any business class availability on DEN-NRT for the better part of the year, though economy was quite open.

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  1. Wow! That was fast! I read an article someplace that Boeing started replacing those Lithium batteries just a week ago. Do you know whether Ethiopian has the new battery designs or the original ones on this flight?

  2. @Joey,
    Of course it is the new batteries. They only take a few days to install, I’m quite surprised it will be a month until United, ANA, and JAL start flying their 787s.

  3. Thanks eneG! I also wondered why United, ANA, and JAL were waiting a month to fly their 787s… perhaps they’re nervous and just want to see whether the new batteries are indeed safe by observing Ethiopian’s 787 flights the next 30 days.

  4. It didn’t say that the ET flight had the new batteries…just that they were scheduled to be fixed. however, Boeing has had techs in the field for a while…

  5. Maybe there was just no Ethiopian regulatory authority that they needed to get approval from before starting flying, or at least no authority that would want to conduct their own tests first. I have 2 booked flights on an ET 787 this July. Looking forward to it since I misconnected on my QR 787 back in December and missed out.

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