One of the most technologically advanced aircraft in operation, Boeing’s 787-8 Dreamliner has helped British Airways expand routes to mid-sized cities, including Pittsburgh.
When the London-based carrier launches service on April 2, the 214-seat Dreamliner will fly between London Heathrow and Pittsburgh four days per week.
Why the 787-8?
Nicolas Krohne, British Airways’ vice president of sales for North America, explained that it’s the “perfect” aircraft for its size and operational efficiencies.
“The Dreamliner has been a game-changer in the industry,” said Krohne. “Ultimately, it has allowed British Airways to grow in a very strategic and measured way,” noting that the aircraft’s capacity and cost-effective qualities are ideal, especially for operating out of mid-sized markets.
Along with the direct Heathrow-to-Pittsburgh route, the 787-8 is a big reason British Airways has inaugurated flights to other mid-market cities, including Austin, Texas; San Jose, California; Nashville, Tennessee and New Orleans.
The Dreamliner uses 20 percent less fuel and releases 20 percent fewer emissions than similar aircraft of its size, according to a fact sheet on Boeing’s website. Additionally, its composite exterior makes the aircraft lighter, boosting fuel efficiency and making it more resilient.
Along with economic benefits, the Dreamliner has larger windows than any aircraft currently in operation – a feature that British Airways officials say reduces the feeling of claustrophobia. Passengers can also adjust the tint of the window to control brightness, and ambient lighting inside the cabin helps reflect the time of day for added comfort in flight.
“Overall, it’s my favorite aircraft,” said Krohne. “Regardless of where your seat is when you are flying on this Dreamliner, I think you’re getting a really good overall travel experience.”
As for a breakdown of the cabin, each flight includes 35 seats in the “Club World,” or business class, cabin (which features lie-flat seating); 25 seats in “World Traveler Plus,” or premium economy; and 154 “World Traveler,” or main cabin seats. Complimentary meals, beverages and individual television screens and on-demand entertainment are offered for each passenger.
Other notable features of the 787-8 Dreamliner are its noise and turbulence-reducing capabilities. The aircraft includes enhancements like chevrons on the engines and quieter air conditioning to lower the noise level inside the cabin, and sensors that detect upcoming turbulence promote a smoother in-flight experience. Also, an advanced air filtration system onboard increases humidity and removes bacteria from the air to help passengers feel less dehydrated and jetlagged.
For Pittsburgh International Airport officials, having the Dreamliner is just an added bonus to the long-awaited return of British Airways service, said Brian Stashak, vice president of Terminal Operations.
“In terms of passenger experience, we are thrilled to have the flight operate on such a state-of-the-art aircraft,” said Stashak. “Features of the 787-8 Dreamliner are unique and industry-leading, and bring the experience of flying, especially international travel, to the next level.”