United Airlines will flick the inflight Internet switch on its new Boeing 787-9 service between Melbourne and Los Angles when Dreamliner flights begin on October 28.
The Boeing 787-9 – the first of 26 due for United’s fleet – comes factory-fitted with satellite Internet, although a United Airlines spokesperson was unable to advise how much travellers will have to pay.
United has been steadily rolling out inflight Internet across its fleet but it’s rarely if ever seen on the airline’s Sydney and Melbourne services, with United estimating that less than one in ten of the Boeing 777s as used on those routes being upgraded to date.
By comparison, all newly-delivered Boeing 787-8 and -9 aircraft will be kitted out for inflight Internet to tap into both satellite and US ground-based Internet feeds.
But this blast of sky-high surfing won’t last for long, with United downgrading several Melbourne-Los Angeles flights to a smaller Boeing 787-8 from October 29 – the day after the direct route kicks off with the Boeing 787-9’s debut – through to November 16.
As first reported by Fairfax Media, United will run the 787-8 on three out of the route’s six days. The -8 will fly Los Angeles-Melbourne on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and Melbourne-Los Angeles on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The use of the smaller and shorter-range Boeing 787-8 on those days means that United will be unable to sell what the airline describes as a “small number of seats” on the US-Australia leg.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.