|A UA 787-9 photo courtesy United|
|Capt. Blaszczak on another 787 flight|
His Dreamliner trip was scheduled to depart for Melbourne at 10:30p.m., the same time as United Flight 839, a Boeing 777-200 which was headed to Sydney. While the journey to Sydney is nearly 45 minutes shorter, the 777 burned 7,500 gallons more fuel getting there.
"They burned 238,000 pounds of fuel compared to our 188,000," Jim told me, taking obvious pleasure in being the man who flies the younger, hipper, and waaaaaay more fuel efficient airplane. "The 777 carries 260 passengers our 787-9 carries 252 passengers, 8 less."
So I should not have been startled, though I was, to see an ANA 787 flying over my head while I was in San Jose, California in October. This was the daily trip from Narita. Controversial as it might be for political and labor reasons, Norwegian has been adding flights from Scandinavia to moderately populated cities in the U.S. like Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando and in Europe, to Malta and Larnaca.
In an article by David Flynn of Australian Business Traveller, United's Matt Miller reinforced the significance of the Dreamliner's market niche, “Melbourne to LA is a market that we have wanted to serve non-stop for many years.” The route is “a perfect fit for the Boeing 787-9. It’s the right size, the right range and the right economics,” he told David.
Airline route planning always seems like hocus pocus to me. Some folks say it is aviation's dark magic. Still, judging from the numbers Jim gave me from his Flight 98, the Dreamliner gives United and all the other airlines flying it, a little economic wiggle room if they aren't immediately able to fill the seats.
|Crossing the international date line on UA 98|