CHICAGO -- Chicago-based United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines, is the proud owner of a new, long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
United took ownership Saturday of its first 787 from Chicago-based Boeing Co. and will fly the craft from Boeing's facilities in Seattle to Houston this week, the company said Monday. United is the first North American airline to take delivery of a Dreamliner, which boasts significantly better fuel economy and passengers comforts than older jets. The aircraft is the first of five Dreamliners the airline expects this year from its total order for 50 of the aircraft.
United will temporarily fly Dreamliner flights from Chicago O'Hare to Houston starting Nov. 4 and ending Dec. 3. Daily service will restart Jan. 4 and run to March 29. United has said that after the temporary domestic flights, it will use the first 787s on international routes to Africa, Asia and Europe.
United CEO Jeff Smisek said in a statement the airline was "delighted" to take delivery of the plane, which he has repeatedly referred to as "game-changing."
United's first Dreamliner is expected to arrive in Houston later this week for a monthlong training and certification program.
United's 787s will be configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 70 seats in United Economy Plus and 113 seats in United Economy.
Passenger comforts aboard the plane include improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins and enhanced ventilation systems.
Because of design and manufacturing delays, airlines are taking delivery of the Dreamliner about three years late.