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United flies from Los Angeles to Melbourne directly with its newest plane the 787-9 Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.10.48 PM
15 hours 45 minutes

Award space on United’s Dreamliners in Business Class has been abysmal, but I wanted to check in and see if anything was different on this route.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.50.27 PM
We want to get into these flat beds up front

The good news is that there is award space on the route in both directions for two people in Business Class.

  • What is the award space picture? 
  • How many miles does the flight to Australia cost?

Update 10/23/14: Commenter Jeremy finds the award space now on aeroplan.com, and I can confirm that the space on these Ethiopian flights is now bookable and is still excellent! (None of the rest of the post has been updated to reflect this information.)

Ethiopian Airlines will begin flying Los Angeles to Dublin to Addis Ababa in June 2015 with a 787 Dreamliner. Ethiopian will have fifth freedom rights, meaning you will be able to fly any single segment of the flight, including Los Angeles to Dublin.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.37.36 AM

This is an exciting addition to the Star Alliance’s transatlantic routes, especially if the route has awesome award space, since direct award space from the West Coast to Europe is tough to find. (Solution: route via Canada.)

The flight will be bookable with United miles and any other Star Alliance airline’s miles. Crucially, with United miles, you can connect Los Angeles to Dublin with the rest of Europe by using United’s non-alliance partner Aer Lingus.

Right now, Los Angeles to Dublin is showing 4 economy seats and 2 business class seats in both directions from June 2015 and beyond. But there’s a problem…

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.59.58 AM

  • What are the flight times?
  • How is Ethiopian Business Class?
  • Where does Aer Lingus fly within Europe?
  • What is the problem with the award space on united.com?

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United’s first flight on the brand new 787-9 Dreamliner is set for October 26, 2014 between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 4.47.53 AM

Currently United serves Melbourne as a tag flight from Sydney after a brief layover.

Official word of the route is expected later today, but we don’t need the announcement because we can see the flights loaded onto the calendar at united.com and up for sale right now.

What’s the award space picture? What are the flight times? What is the difference between the 787-8 and 787-9? How is United’s premium product to Australia?

Royal Jordanian is a member of the oneworld alliance with American Airlines, and is based in Amman, Jordan. Royal Jordanian is the latest carrier to announce new routes for its 787s beginning July 1, 2014.

What really jumped out at me was the Chicago to Amman route that begins August 31, 2014 and features incredible award space! From Amman, there are connections to all of the following cities on Royal Jordanian.

from wikipedia.org
from wikipedia.org

This route will be of great use to anybody who wants to fly the 787 up front; wants to travel to Jordan, the Middle East, or India with American Airlines miles; or is planning an Explorer Award.

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United announced a massive devaluation of its miles on Halloween to take effect for awards booked February 1, 2014 or later. Until January 31, 2014, I’ll be running posts about the best ways to burn United miles.

You can save 20k or more miles by booking your 2014 United Dreamliner flights to Asia by January 31, 2014. Space has improved dramatically in the last few months on Dreamliner routes.

United has a fantastic fully-flat business class product (called BusinessFirst), which is the only premium cabin in its configuration of the 787 Dreamliner, one of the world’s newest and most advanced planes.

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United’s Dreamliner flies three routes, all to Asia:

  • Los Angeles <-> Shanghai
  • Los Angeles <-> Tokyo-Narita
  • Denver <-> Tokyo-Narita

The plane has 36 beds up front in a 2-2-2 configuration. Snag a middle seat to avoid having to climb over anyone or be climbed over.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 11.48.16 PM

Currently, the cost from the US to Japan or China in economy class is 32,500 miles each way or 60,000 each way in business class.

For awards booked February 1, 2014 or later, those prices rise to 35,000 miles each way in economy class, 65,000 miles each way in business class to Japan or 70,000 miles in business class to China.

The award prices on the Dreamliner’s routes are rising 8-17%, hardly earth shattering, but not exactly pleasant.

Prices to Southeast Asia are rising quite a bit more, though, so if you were planning on using a Dreamliner segment as part of a trip to Thailand, for instance, the price of a one way in economy will rise from 32,500 miles to 40,000 miles. And a one way in business class is rising from 60k miles to 70k miles on United flights or 80k miles on partner flights.

Booking Dreamliner flights now would lock in the better prices. The good news is that award space for two people is available on all three routes in 2014 in economy and business. This is a change from a few months ago when United was not releasing award space on any of the Dreamliner routes.

What is the award space picture on each route? Which route is ideal for connections throughout Asia? How can you earn United miles to redeem before the devaluation?

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United will operate its 787 Dreamliner between San Francisco and Chengdu, China three times a week beginning June 9, 2014 according to Airline Route.

Boeing 787 United Airlines seating

I follow United’s Dreamliner route announcements because United has an awesome Business Class product (confusingly called “BusinessFirst”), United releases good award space on its own routes, and the Dreamliner is an awesome plane with great passenger comforts and environmental benefits.

What is the flight schedule? What is the award picture?

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According to Airline Route, United will fly its Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Houston to London from December 20, 2013 to May 5, 2014.

I like to track the routes of Dreamliners that fly to the US because they’re a great way for beginners to get a state-of-the-art business class flights that are easy redemptions.

This route from Houston to London has the best business class award availability I’ve seen on any United Dreamliner route.

When is the award space? How is the United BusinessFirst product on the Dreamliner?

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Update October 5, 2013: United has cancelled this one-off route, but there are other opportunities to get on this flight domestically.

United’s 787 Dreamliner will fly a single roundtrip from Seattle to Houston over with perfect flight times for this Thanksgiving.

How can you get on the Dreamliner on a domestic flight for far less than an international flight?

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Last week, British Airways announced a new, and surprising, route to be served by its Dreamliner 787: Austin, Texas <-> London-Heathrow, starting March 3, 2014.

Image from gcmap.com

The Austin route is the third Dreamliner route announced. The plane is already flying to Toronto and starts service to Newark on October 1, 2013.

I had a chance to speak to Simon Brooks, BA’s Head of Sales for North America about the new route, for which tickets are already on sale. He filled in some of the details of the new route for me.

I’ll be following this route and all future British Airways 787 routes with great interest because my recent taste of the plane has me excited to fly it on a longer flight. See Trip Report of the Brand New British Airways 787 with Tons of Pictures.

I’ve checked into the award space on the flight, and for the moment it’s excellent for next summer. I’ve priced out several awards to find the best way to stretch your miles and get on to the route.

Why Austin? How is the award space? How many miles, taxes, and fuel surcharges to get onto the Dreamliner’s newest route?

I recently had a chance to fly both a British Airways A380 and a British Airways 787 on intra-European flights in fully-flat business class beds for peanuts. The circumstances of the flights and some photos of the A380 are here.

I booked myself a business class bed on the 787 from London-Heathrow to Stockholm for 7,500 Avios and $140. The full price was 15,000 Avios and $40, but I chose the Cash & Avios option.

The flight was enjoyable, and I wasn’t the only one in business class who had purposely booked a seat on the 787 in business class. The plane is beautiful and will be an excellent addition to the British Airways fleet.

How did the business class cabin look? Which seats should solo travelers and groups select?

Update: British Airways 787 Business Class Full Trip Report

Last month I saw this thread about British Airways taking delivery of its new A380 and 787 and training the crews on intra-European routes. The A380 is flying for most of August between London and Frankfurt, and the 787 is flying between London and Stockholm.

Just by chance, I would be in Munich in August and had some friends I wanted to visit in London and Stockholm.

I booked myself a business class seat (Club World, though in this case Club Europe) on the A380 for 9,000 Avios and $40 from Frankfurt to London. I would have jumped at a First Class seat, but those seats were not for sale.

And I booked myself a business class seat on the 787 for 7,500 Avios and $140. The full price was 15,000 Avios and $40, but I chose the Cash & Avios option.

I flew the A380 Thursday, and I’m about to board the 787. I’ll give full trip reports on both, but I wanted to share of a few images of all cabins of the British Airways A380 in advance because it’s so beautiful.

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I’m undeterred by battery issues and constantly on the lookout for ways to fly the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. One Dreamliner route with fantastic award space is the All Nippon Airways (ANA) route between Tokyo-Narita and San Jose, California.

These can be turned into fully flat beds.

The daily flight is bookable with United or US Airways miles and may be your best gateway to Asia for the next three months.

image from gcmap.com

How can you book the flight? What’s ANA’s business class product? What’s the award space picture?

LAN Airlines is putting its Boeing 787 Dreamliner into service between Los Angeles and Lima starting July 1st according to airlineroute.net, and the award space is widely available.

Like all LAN longhaul flights, the plane is configured with two cabins, economy and Premium Business with fully flat beds. You can get on the flights from the west coast to Peru for only 17,500 miles each way in economy or 30,000 miles in a fully flat bed–a steal for the 8hr20min flight.

How can you get on the flight and when is the best award availability?

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A few months ago, Bill wrote a great piece titled Beware Phantom Award Availability at United.com. It’s true that United.com occasionally lists Saver award space that just doesn’t exist and that you can’t book online or by phone.

I’ve just come across the opposite: phantom non-award space. United.com is showing no availability in business class on the Ethiopian 787 Dreamliner from Toronto to Addis Ababa when such space is in fact bookable with United miles by phone.

This is huge news because this is a solid product (angled lie flat bed on a 787) to Africa with award space this summer that most people don’t know about. That means you can get the award space for yourself if you follow a few simple steps.

I’ll discuss my findings and how you can get this secret award space after the jump.

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