For United, its Boeing Dreamliner family is complete. United took delivery of its first 787-10, the largest aircraft in the Dreamliner series. United will now become the first airline in the world to operate the entire Dreamliner range—the 787-8, 787-9, and now 787-10.
Come January, it will also be the first North American airline to fly the 787-10, when it criss-crosses the U.S. between its hubs on the east and west coasts.
What Makes United’s 787-10 Unique?
United plans to take delivery of 14 of the -10, complementing its existing 25 787-9 and 12 787-8 already in service.
The 787-10 is a full 18 feet longer than the 787-9, with total capacity of 318 passengers compared to the -9’s 252. Those 318 seats are divided into four cabins—44 Polaris seats (business class) in a unique all-aisle configuration, 21 Premium Plus seats (premium economy) in a 2-3-2 arrangement, 54 Economy Plus seats (extra-legroom economy) in 3-3-3, and 199 Economy seats also in 3-3-3.
United’s 787-10 will be the first aircraft to be delivered with its new Premium Plus cabin, which will initially be sold as Economy Plus. This is a temporary win for elite customers who will get to select these seats at no charge—until United has enough planes with a premium economy cabin to begin selling it.
Economy Plus is a typical extra-legroom economy seat, but with the added benefit on transcontinental routes of a complimentary “coastal-city-inspired menu” with hot meal, pre-arrival snack, and alcoholic beverages. Speaking of routes…
What Routes Will United’s 787-10 Operate?
As announced last month, United will begin operating the 787-10 on its transcontinental routes between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York/Newark. Even United mentioned how unusual it is for a new widebody to have regularly scheduled domestic service.
While United typically operates its widebody aircraft for international routes, it will operate its first -10 aircraft between New York/Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Sure enough, the 787-10—coded as “781”—is scheduled through the end of schedule between its EWR, SFO, and LAX hubs. The 787-10 will debut on the New York/Newark and Los Angeles route on January 9th, with one flight in each direction. Then, on February 14th, the aircraft will also make its way onto the New York/Newark and San Francisco route with two scheduled services each way.
What About 787-10 Passenger Comfort?
United is touting its passenger comfort onboard the latest Dreamliner including “updated lighting colors that mimic sunrise and sunset.” It will also debut a new seatback entertainment system that has more customizable movie playlists, accessibility features, and most notably for AvGeeks, split screen capabilities that allow for watching a movie and viewing the flight map simultaneously. Nice.
While Polaris is a solid international business class hard product, it’s actually top-notch for a transcontinental service.
However, for those in economy, the Boeing 787 is just not a comfortable plane—plain and simple. With its narrow fuselage, the 3-3-3 configuration makes seat width extremely tight, although its not any worse than a 777 in a 3-4-3 arrangement. The seat width difference is noticeable in economy when compared to a more spacious aircraft like the Airbus A350, which Delta operates.
How To Book 787-10 Using Miles & Award Availability
As a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s easy to move points to United’s MileagePlus program. The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is part of Ultimate Rewards and is a fantastic mid-tier travel card. By getting approved and spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening, you could earn enough points to fly in Polaris business one-way on United’s new 787-10 premium transcon.
United is all-Boeing for its widebodies for now. This 787-10 is a complementary addition to its Dreamliner lineup and will provide extra capacity on popular routes. For transcon customers, it will be a nice upgrade in Polaris business compared to United’s 757 or 777 aircraft. Economy is a wash but the addition of Premium Plus sold as extra-legroom economy is a solid, albeit temporary perk.
I’m curious to see how long the 787-10’s domestic run will last and where else we’ll see this new bird fly.