Why is this exciting?
Well, first of all, San Diego will be one of the first markets to boast 787 service when Japan Airlines begins nonstop service from Lindbergh Field to Tokyo-Narita in December. The design characteristics of the plane now make it feasible for direct service to far-off international destinations from San Diego on its short single runway.
Why should you care?
First of all, more international service means that (1) Japan Airlines recognizes a growing economy to support such services (likely with some booster benefits from local government agencies) and (2) the ability for Japan's deep pockets to come directly to San Diego to invest in our economy, create and sustain jobs and all of the good stuff that comes with international investment. And, these investors won't have to fly through Los Angeles (and we won't have to compete with companies up there for investment dollars). It will be that much easier to blossom San Diego-Japan business and cultural partnerships.
Second, the Boeing 787 itself is really awesome. It's a smaller twin-aisle aircraft with roughly above or below 200 passengers. So, it's a modern-day Boeing 767, a great plane itself. The Wall Street Journal goes further:
Boeing points to design changes both inside and out of the cabin that make for a better ride. With a body largely constructed of super-strong plastics—carbon-fiber composite material—instead of aluminum, the 787 can have higher cabin humidity since rust isn't a worry. The humidity level in the Dreamliner cabin is 10% to 15%, compared with 4% to 7% typical in other airplanes. But 15% is still extremely dry—about the same relative humidity as the average summer afternoon in Las Vegas, according to meteorological data.Sweet dreams.
The cabin is pressurized to a lower altitude than conventional jets, lessening the effects of being high in the air, such as headaches and fatigue, because of a 6% improvement in oxygen absorbed by the body at 6,000 feet compared with 8,000 feet, according to a Boeing spokeswoman. Studies show big windows help reduce motion sickness, Boeing said, and LED lighting that can simulate sunrise, for example, can help ease jet-lag effects.
(Photo from Altair 78/Wikimedia Commons)