Wait, Boston Will Be First in U.S. to Fly 787?

Boeing 787 Chief Pilot Randy Neville presents a Dreamliner model to Japan Airlines Senior Vice President for the Americas Hiroyaki Hioka. (Photo: BOEING)

It’s more than a feeling–it’s a fact. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in New England for the first time ever this past Sunday, in preparation for Japan Airlines‘ launch of a Tokyo Narita-to-Boston route. As of April 22, 2012, JAL will fly four times per week (flights JL007 and JL008) between Tokyo Narita and Logan International, switching over to daily service on June 1.

All Nippon Airlines will offer direct SeaTac-to-Tokyo Narita flights by mid-2012 earliest, but Seattleites will be flying the same old boring planes to Japan on Delta and United for a while yet, despite their orders of 18 and 50 787s, respectively. A United-ordered 787 provided a photo op for President Obama recently, in his visit to Seattle, but United plans to put the new plane in service first on its routes between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand; and Houston and Lagos, Nigeria.

The largest 787-9 can hold “just” 250 to 290 passengers (for comparison, a 747-400ER can hold up to 524), so airlines like United are directing it first to longer but less-popular flights, where the 787 can fly full and help them rake in savings on fuel. United’s first 787 will carry 219 passengers.

Boeing has a 787 on tour throughout March. Now up is Newark, New Jersey; next, Mexico City, Phoenix, San Diego, Long Beach, and Salt Lake City.