2014 could be The Year of Sky-High Surfing for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with both the original 787-8 and the longer 787-9 expected to include inflight Internet on their list of 'optional extras'.
Airlines ordering the Dreamliner can tailor the next-gen jet through a series of tick-a-box choices including the type of seats, galleys, toilets and crew rest seats.
They can even opt to leave out the upstairs crew rest loft areas, as Jetstar has done with its 787 fleet, if the plane won't be flying on extra-long routes.
According to Mary Kirby's RunwayGirl Network blog, Boeing has settled on two satellite-based systems to be offered on the 787-8 and 787-9.
Both platforms permit inflight Internet and mobile phone calls, although of course airlines can choose to disable the inflight cellphone service and restrict travellers to Internet access.
"A Boeing spokesman confirms that linefit offerability of Thales’ TopConnect inflight connectivity solution 'will be firmed up soon for customers in mid-2014 and beyond'", Kirby reports, while Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect platform "will be available on the 787-8 later in 2014” according to the Boeing spokesman.
Air New Zealand is the worldwide launch customer for the Boeing 787-9, with the first commercial flight scheduled for 15 October 2014 on the Auckland-Perth route. Services from Auckland to Tokyo and Shanghai will follow.
Each of Air New Zealand's ten Boeing 787-9s will see a three-class configuration of 18 seats in business class, 21 in premium economy and 263 in economy.
Photos, video: Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seats
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