United Airlines auctions seat on 1st Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight

By David Flynn, February 17 2012
United Airlines auctions seat on 1st Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight

United Airlines will auction off a seat on the maiden flight of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner later this year.

And it won't just be any flight of Boeing's next-get jet, but the 'delivery flight' from Boeing's 787 assembly plant in Seattle back to United's hangers at San Francisco Airport before the 787 enters commercial service.

Delivery flights are usually staffed only by a handful of airline crew including technicians and, for some special events, a handful of invited media.

The auction will be restricted to United's VIP frequent flyers as part of the MileagePlus Headliners programme unveiled earlier this year, which lets frequent flyers "use their miles to bid for a host of experiences" including "airline adventures that money can't buy", according to the airline.

"Later this year, it will offer the chance to fly on a United Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery flight."

Auctions and experiences are becoming an 'in thing' with airlines.

Japan's ANA used eBay to offer two seats on the inaugural flight of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner last October, fetching a whopping A$32,700 (which ANA donated to a Japanese environmental group).

Based on that, we'd expect bidding for United's prestigious 787 delivery flight to easily top the one million miles mark.

Qantas has also joined the ranks of the 'exclusive experience' set with last year's launch of its elite Platinum One frequent flyer tier, and you'd like to think that a ride in the Red Roo's first 787 – which Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says is due mid-2013 – would be high on the list of money-can't-buy treats. 

Also in AusBT's Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage...

PHOTO TOUR: Inside Qantas' Boeing 787 Dreamliner Sydney event

Australian Business Traveller presents an excluisve behind-the-scenes look at the first 787 to visit Australia. Read more...

Light fantastic: Boeing 787 Dreamliner's digital window tinting

Bothersome sliding window shades begone! Boeing’s newly-minted 787 Dreamliner sports ‘digital window tinting’ which makes the glass go dark at the touch of a button. Read more...

Inside the Boeing 787's funky crew rest 'loft'

Check out the cool and potentially shagadelic upstairs 'loft' space used by pilot and flight attendants during their scheduled breaks from duty on the 787. Read more...

Photo tour: step inside ANA's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Japanese airline ANA is Boeing's launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner – step right up for a detailed photo-tour of ANA's factory-fresh 787 which we snapped during Boeing's launch of the Dreamliner in Seattle. Read more...

Photos and flight report: ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner

What's it like to fly in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner? We visited Tokyo as a guest of ANA for a special 90 minute ‘excursion flight’ from Narita which provided a taste of what the Dreamliner will deliver for travellers (and yes, there's much more than rainbow-like cabin lighting). Read more...

So when will Qantas have the Boeing 787?

Qantas will buy 50 Boeing 787s, but the first deliveries aren't expected until mid-2013 – and those will be for budget offshoot Jetstar. The Red Roo won't get its own Dreamliners until as late as 2016, but you'll see the 787 on domestic as well as international flights. Read more...



David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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