Tuesday, December 04, 2012

United 787 in Emergency Landing, 'Dreamliner' Hype Aside

Media swells being taken for a ride

I'm glad to know that United Airlines got its money's worth flying all of those media and travel-world swells around on a multi-city junket that yielded such effusive publicity for the inaugural flight of its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft last month.  From the media accounts, you'd have thought this was the reincarnation of the supersonic Concorde:

"Even the lavatories are pretty darn cool," the CNBC man gushed. "...The Dreamliner is a fantastic airplane and I'm looking forward to my next ride."  Link.
Well, the media slobbering on the junket tour aside, United has already had a problem on a flight with actual fare-paying passengers, on one of the two 787s it has on hand (United has another 48 on order from Boeing).

A United 787 bound to Newark from Houston had to make an emergency landing in New Orleans today because of a mechanical problem. Nobody got hurt. United said it will work with Boeing on finding a solution to whatever the problem is. Link.

[According to Reuters, meanwhile, Boeing says that the F.A.A. has ordered the entire fleet of 787 jets to be inspected for a possible fuel line problem.]

Some media accounts, by the way, left the impression that the 787 Dreamliner is the kind of plane most of us might one day be flying on, rather than, say, one of those crappy 50-seat or 70-seat regional jets that handle most domestic flights.

Forget about it! While United is trying to show off the 787 domestically now, the plane in fact is a premium aircraft designed for long-haul international flights.


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