If you thought that plastic planes were strictly for Fischer-Price and its itty-bitty fans, think again. Production of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, unveiled in 2005, is steady underway despite a series of delays that have kept investors guessing. Luckily, the focus is more on the number of planes that will be ready for delivery in 2009 than whether or not any planes will be ready at all (although there are concerns that this won’t be the last delay). In the spirit of optimism, we remain enthusiastic at the prospect of plastic planes, as well as the bigger windows and skin hydration they promise.
The planes are roughly 50-60% plastic, enabling speedier and more fuel-efficient flights. More notably, the plastic will withstand the humidity of lower altitudes (metal planes rust), which lower flying (read: less pressurized cabins, higher cabin humidity and bigger windows). In addition, the Dreamliner will feature a new air filtration system that will refresh cabin air as opposed to recycling it, resulting in happier and healthier flights for all. The planes even feature levelizing devices (something about sensors all over the exterior of the plane – the technical details escape me), so turbulence will be reduced to 10% of what it would be in a traditional airliner. What this all really means: lots of natural light, no more chapped lips and dry skin (although I happen to be obsessed with lip gloss, so I plan on protecting my pout regardless), no more popping ears or piercing headaches, faster flights, reduced air sickness, less germs, and, of course, a cleaner upper atmosphere.
Even better, it seems that airlines are snatching these babies up. The Boeing website shows a total of 75 orders as of April 1, 2008, with 16 of those orders going to Gulf Air and 58 of them going to unidentified airlines. We suspect that 16 are going to Continental and a handful to Southwest. Do these numbers represent firm commitments? Not sure, but at least we know where to look for our primo plastic planes. So enjoy, jetsetters-without-personal-jets, business travelers, and Naomi Campbell … if Boeing investors have anything to say about it, your day is near.