United adds 787-9 (with wifi!!) to their fleet

A United 787-9, soon to be flying from San Francisco to Singapore (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

United Airlines is now the proud owner of a 787-9 Dreamliner, the first North American carrier for the type.

United Airlines 787-9

One lucky person at United’s Seattle station yesterday was able to get on board and has some (very shaky) video showing off the interior of the plane.

In addition to the usual platitudes mentioned in the press release – longer version of the plane to hold more passengers, greater range, newer route opportunities – there is something which is very good news for passengers on this particular aircraft and which will trickle down to the other 787s in the fleet. This is the first United 787 to be delivered with in-flight internet connectivity. Boeing only recently began offering wifi connectivity as a line-fit option and the United 787-9 is one of the earlier deliveries with that functionality installed.

United will use the same Panasonic eXConnect Ku system which is currently installed on the carrier’s 747 and Airbus fleets. That same system will also be installed on the rest of the long-haul fleet with expected completion by “mid-2015” though that date has slipped a few times over the years. United will also be retrofitting the 787-8 aircraft already in the fleet to include the connectivity service as well. Eventually. No timeline announced on that one yet.

As for when it will enter service, look for the 787-9 on United’s schedule based out of IAH starting on 20 September 2014 running domestic proving routes (mostly LAX) and then international service starting in October as the Los Angeles – Melbourne route is established. It will be the longest 787 route in the world when it begins flying.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. That’s awesome! Do you know whether ANA’s or Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will have inflight wifi? I read recently that Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9 will have inflight wifi.

    1. I don’t know that NZ will be adding it any time soon. ANA has signed a contract with OnAir to provide wifi on their longhaul fleet, including the 787. That’s a much slower (and generally more expensive to passengers) service than the Ku-band satellite option form Panasonic which United is installing. But it is something.

      1. Thx for the reply! Good to know. Smart of UA to install inflight wifi given they’ll be flying the 787-9 all the way to Australia!

  2. Did anyone else notice that the controls on the BF seats are different from the current 787-8 seats, as well as those on the two class 763s and 777s, 764s, and 752s (sCO and PS)?

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