Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Japanese airlines ANA and JAL ordered the planes en masse. I recall seeing huge adverts around Tokyo (above). However, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner got off to rather a bad start. On January 16, 2013, ANA Flight NH-692, en route from Ube to Tokyo Haneda, had a battery problem warning followed by a burning smell. The aircraft diverted to Takamatsu and was evacuated via the slides; passengers suffered one sprained wrist and two other minor injuries during the evacuation. Inspection revealed a battery fire. A similar incident in a parked JAL 787 at Boston'sLogan International Airport within the same week led the FAA to ground all Boeing 787s.
I am pleased to report that my journey was a very pleasant experience. As always, the ANA cabin crew gave excellent service, and the aircraft certainly felt modern, and very clean. All seats had their own entertainment console - identical to that in the 777 I've taken from Tokyo to London. The interior can be coloured according to the desires of the airline itself. During taxiing and take-off, the cabin was lit with a blue hue, which is the corporate colour of ANA. Business class turned to a soft red during the flight. How dramatic!
Something I had not seen, but wanted to try out, were the windows in the 787.
The 787's windows are larger than other civil air transport in-service or in development, with dimensions of 27 by 47 cm, and a higher eye level so passengers can maintain a view of the horizon. The composite fuselage permits larger windows without the need for structural reinforcement. Instead of window shades, the windows use electrochromism-based smart glass (supplied by PPG Industries) allowing flight attendants and passengers to adjust five levels of sunlight and visibility to their liking.
It's great fun to play with. The very top segment of the above photo shows the thick smog in Beijing in all its glory, and the one below reduces its impact with a blue-hue. By the time I'd reached the lowest setting, I couldn't see through the glass.
If you do get the chance to take a ride on a 787, I would highly recommend it. And if you're taking one to Tokyo, let me know!