My husband flew the other day on a sleek new regional jet with leather seats and overhead messages that referred to electronic devices, not to smoking. It was as if after years of being hauled around in giant old Chevy sedans, he was suddenly riding in a new, well-appointed Dodge Neon.
Well, make way for the new, well-appointed Lexus. All Nippon Airways flew a bunch of reporters from Tokyo to Hong Kong yesterday on the first commercial flight of the much-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft is quieter than older jets, has bigger windows and maintains higher cabin pressure. It’s also more fuel-efficient.
Don’t hold your breath, though, for a chance to ride in one. Deliveries to domestic airlines won’t begin until next year, at the earliest. There have been no new orders for the 787 this year, according to Boeing’s website and 26 cancellations. There’s also a rumor that Air India plans to cancel more than half its order.
Still, Boeing has about 800 orders for the 787. If it is really the aircraft of the future, flying may eventually get a little bit better for all of us, even in coach.