After four months of testing, the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” will once again take to the skies in North America today. United Airlines is the first to kick off service, sending the Dreamliner skyward on a flight from Houston to Chicago scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning.
Earlier this year, the federal government grounded all 787 flights due to overheating concerns on the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries. The grounding hit both Boeing and the airlines hard, causing snags in proposed routes and forcing some airlines to lease planes. According to Associated Press, the grounding hurt United’s first-quarter earnings by as much as $11 million – which is why we questioned whether or not the 787 is ready for flight, or whether the billions of dollars that have already been invested in the planes have caused things to be pushed along a little too quickly.
But according to several sources, passengers don’t seem too worried. United spokeswoman Christen David told Associated Press the company “saw strong demand for the flight from the first weekend it opened for sale.” United is starting slowly with domestic flights, and will then move into international flights in June with a new Denver-to-Tokyo service.