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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Only 3 Airlines Operate All 3 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Models

The Boeing 787 is a well-known widebody aircraft. Called the “Dreamliner,” the aircraft made quite a splash with its first flight back in December 2009. Since then, Boeing has delivered over 900 787s from the family, which contains three subtypes: the -8s, -9s, and -10s. However, only three airlines operate all three variants.

ANA 787
ANA, the launch customer of the 787, operates all three variants. Photo: Boeing

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ANA operates a total of 73 Boeing 787s per Planespotters. This includes two Boeing 787-10s, 36 787-8s, and 35 787-9s. These planes fly several vital routes. Some popular airports in the world that see ANA 787 service include San Jose (SJC), Seattle (SEA), Hong Kong (HKG), Sydney (SYD), Paris (CDG), among others. The carrier remains a significant customer for the type.

The 787-10s have 38 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 235 economy class seats seating a grand total of 294 passengers.

ANA 787-10
ANA received its first 787-10 in 2019. Photo: Boeing

The 787-9s come in two different configurations. One has 40 business class seats, 14 premium economy, and 192 economy class seats for a total capacity of 246. The other 787-9 configuration includes 38 business class seats, 21 premium economy, and 146 economy seats for a total capacity of 215.

ANA business class
Business class onboard ANA’s Star Wars-themed 787. Photo: Getty Images

The 787-8s come in three variants. The densest is 240 seats with 42 business class and 198 economy class seats. The next has capacity for 184 seats seating 32 in business class, 14 premium economy, and 138 economy class seats. The lightest configuration seats only 169 passengers with 46 business class seats, 21 premium economy, and only 102 economy class seats.Advertisement:

British Airways

With its first 787-10 coming this last weekend, British Airways has 31 787s according to Planespotters. Alongside the brand new 787-10, British Airways also has 12 787-8s and 18 787-9s.

Some popular cities where these 787s fly from London include Baltimore (BWI), Newark (EWR), Nashville (BNA), Hyderabad (HYD), Philadelphia (PHL), Mexico City (MEX), Delhi (DEL), and Atlanta (ATL), among others.

BA 787
British Airways operates all three variants of the 787. Photo: British Airways

The 787-8s are outfitted in a three-class configuration with 35 seats in Club World (business class), 25 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), and 154 in World Traveller (economy class) for a total capacity fo 214 passengers.Advertisement:

The 787-9s are, capacity-wise, not much larger with seating for 216 passengers. However, unlike the -8s, the -9s are in a four-class configuration. This includes eight seats in First, 42 seats in Club World, 39 in World Traveller Plus, and 127 in World Traveller.

First Class
First Class is available on the 787-9s and -10s. Photo: British Airways

The long-awaited 787-10s will contain eight First Class seats, 48 brand new Club Suite (British Airways’ new business class product) seats, seating for 35 in World Traveller Plus, and 165 in World Traveller. This comes out to a total maximum capacity of 256 customers.

Club Suite
The first 787-10 came to BA with the Club Suite product. Photo: British Airways

United Airlines

United operates 55 787s per Planespotters. This includes 13 787-10s, 12 787-8s, and 30 787-9s. These planes can be found on transcontinental routes, flights to Frankfurt (FRA), Tel Aviv (TLV), Paris (CDG), Brussels (BRU), Singapore (SIN), Cape Town (CPT), and Tokyo (HND), among others.Advertisement:

United 787
United is the only North American operator flying all three variants of the 787. Photo: Boeing

United is working on retrofitting its 787s with the airline’s new Polaris (business) and Premium Plus (premium economy) products. The non-retrofitted 787-8s have 36 seats in business class, 70 extra-legroom economy seats (Economy Plus), and 113 regular economy seats for a total of 219 passengers.

The retrofitted 787-8s contain 28 Polaris seats, 21 Premium Plus seats, 36 Economy Plus, and 158 economy seats for a maximum capacity of 243.

United 787 business class
Business class onboard United’s non-retrofitted 787s. Photo: Getty Images

The 787-9s are also undergoing a retrofit. The non-refurbished 787-9s have 48 business class seats, 88 extra-legroom economy seats, and 116 economy seats for a total maximum capacity of 252 passengers. Meanwhile, the retrofitted -9s contain 48 Polaris seats, 21 Premium Plus seats, 39 Economy Plus seats, and 149 economy seats for a total of 257 seats.

The new Polaris business class seat. Photo: United Airlines

The 787-10s were delivered with the new Polaris cabin and Premium Plus configurations. There are 44 Polaris seats, 21 in Premium Plus, 54 extra-legroom economy seats, and 199 regular economy seats. This works out to a total of 318 passengers.

United Premium Plus
Premium Plus is United’s premium economy product. Photo: United Airlines

Why don’t more carriers fly all three variants?

Pilots can move across all three 787 types without needing significant training. This would make it attractive for airlines to operate since they can, in theory, streamline their widebody fleet with one aircraft type containing 220-ish, 260-ish, and 300-ish passengers.

However, for a lot of carriers, there are a lot of other considerations. Some airlines also fly Boeing 777s or Airbus A330s that would cover for one or two variants. For example, American Airlines, which operates both 787-8s and -9s, also flies the 777-300ER that covers the 300-capacity segment.

The least popular variant of the 787 is the -10, which traditionally seats 300 passengers and more. That much capacity also might not be of interest to an airline.

While the 787 is cheaper to operate than older aircraft and provides a better passenger experience, filling all of those seats could still be a difficult task for airlines that do not have large connecting hubs built up or that operate on high-demand long-haul routes.

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