Seats Are Aplenty on Re-Debut of United 787 Dreamliner Flights May 20

United Airlines will operate its first post-grounding Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights in just about two weeks on May 20. And the seat maps are currently wide open.

As reported by Jack Harty for Airchive, flight UA 1 will depart from Houston on Monday May 20 at 11:00 a.m., arriving in Chicago at 1:35 p.m.

a screen shot of an airplane seat

UA1 Seat Map on May 20 IAH-ORD

The return flight UA 2 will depart Chicago at 3:40 p.m. with an arrival back in Houston at 6:25 p.m.

a map of an airplane

UA2 Seat Map on May 20 ORD-IAH

The next day on May 21, United is scheduled to operate 2X daily Houston-Chicago-Houston flights until June 9, as well as add Dreamliner service on the Houston to Denver and Houston to Los Angeles routes, the latter commencing on May 24.

I doubt there will be any hoopla surrounding these flights, but I’m glad to see them on the schedule. I wouldn’t hesitate to be on one of them.

Here’s a look back at my experience on United’s inaugural Dreamliner flights on November 4, 2012:

Would you feel comfortable booking a Dreamliner flight today?


  1. I saw four Dreamliners yesterday in Charleston, 3 looked like they’d be for Air India and 1 was for Air China. There were also 3 Dreamlifters. Not sure I’d fly one yet.

  2. Pass until they’ve been in the air for a year. No concern seemed to be paid to the fact that smoke wasn’t filtered out properly… Don’t feel safe yet.

  3. Adding an exhaust pipe to the battery compartment does not instill much confidence in the system for me.

  4. Flew the Dreamliner in November to/from Ethiopia. It was a great experience and I would not hesitate to fly it again immediately.

  5. I second Steve. I ain’t flying that plane until 2015, thank God AA, my loyalty airline, does not have them!

  6. Steve – I’m with you. I intentionally avoided QF’s A380s for over a year (not long enough, it turned out), opting for their 747 service from LAX.

    Please let us know when UA publishes their 2015 schedule!

  7. Jim – What is your basis for saying “It’s a great plane”? Is it the fire in Boston or fire in Japan that gives you comfort? Or was it the flight in Japan where they had problems deploying the landing gear?

  8. @Tom: It’s the comfort of the cabin, large windows, and cool mood lighting. Compared to the rest of the UA fleet, I’d say it’s a step above (and I’ve flown it).

  9. I’m sure those seat maps will fill out a bit before May 20, but I’d also guess not much more than 50%. WTF! It would be fun to fly on such an empty plane simply because it is so rare. I think UA’s use of those airplanes on short/medium domestic flights for a few weeks, before starting the long-hauls is a smart move. And there won’t be any ETOPS challenges. That said, I’m not going out of my way to fly on one yet. (While I believe that Boeing’s Li-ion battery fix is sufficient to prevent loss of control during flight and in-flight injury, I also think it would have been wiser to ditch the Li-ion program, replace it with a know, more reliable type and just eat the minor weight penalty. I’m a battery chemist and I don’t play one on TV.) Boeing has bet their entire 787 program on that fix; if it is successful, (and no other electrical problems crop up), they’ve got a winner over time. If other major faults show up, it will hurt them and for a decade or more. Only time will tell.

  10. Addendum: Scoring a First Class upgrade on one of those “Practice Flights” should be rather easy. Sadly, most of them are too short for even UA’s minimal domestic service, so no one will really learn much about how the front-end service program really works. Once the long hauls start, there will be more opportunity, but then UA has never been a big player in the international soft-product game. Nearly ANY foreign carrier will offer far better food and service, even if on much older metal.

  11. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to fly on a 787. Unfortunately I will be on the way back from London on the 20th, otherwise I might try to get a seat on it.
    My only complaint about my Dreamliner flight in July is that I was originally in Global First on a 767…

  12. For a couple weeks following re-debut there will be four daily frequencies on the domestic 787 routes. On 5/27 (the one day I checked), 40% of IAH/DEN seats will be on 787s. I doubt it is as pronounced on the other routes, as they don’t have more capacity to begin with, but still, that’s a lot.

  13. Nope. No way. They still have no idea what caused the problem in the first place, aren’t held to updated requirements, etc. I’m not usually an anxious flyer, but put me down with the 2015 crowd.

  14. @Matthew: Agree completely.
    @Cook: Upgrades definitely should be easy to get on the re-intro flights, but yes… the egg mcmuffin they served on the IAH-ORD 787 flight on 11/4 was nothing to write home about.
    @Kris: Have a great RTW trip!

  15. @Cook Yes! Sign me up! Unfortunately, my ff status is with Delta, not UA. Darn, snagging an upgrade would be sweet, even better because it’d be my first Dreamliner flight.

  16. Overall, there seems to be a bit of scepticism in this forum regarding the reintroduction of the 787 back into service and justifiably so considering the recent mishap events related to the new Lithium batteries. Some folks have even compared these new issues to that of the A380 during it’s “break in period” with some the of the problems that have plagued it too. As with any new aircraft fitted with the latest new technology, there will be some turbulence along the way. However, these bugs can only be best worked out in the real world as no test flights or simulations can ever account for these situations. The public needs to be mindful that this plane is truly a step towards alleviating a lot of the complaints we fliers have right now with the current planes available and the improvements here set the tone for the future of aviation so long as we can keep the plane safe!

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