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U.S. routes announced for 'sports car in the sky'

By Thom Patterson, CNN
August 31, 2012 -- Updated 0957 GMT (1757 HKT)
A 787 Dreamliner gets tested above the Boeing factory at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Washington, in 2011.
A 787 Dreamliner gets tested above the Boeing factory at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Washington, in 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United Airlines announces first domestic Dreamliner routes
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner offers state-of-the-art technology, design
  • Passenger comforts include bigger windows, larger cabin storage
  • Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles among routes

(CNN) -- To some, it's just a simple flight schedule, but for many American travelers, it's a ticket to the cutting edge of airline technology.

United Airlines announced Thursday its first domestic flight schedule for the new Dreamliner 787s as it phases Boeing's state-of-the-art airliner into service "several years ahead of its North American competitors."

Featuring passenger comforts such as bigger windows, larger overhead bins and better ventilation, United's Dreamliner is set for its first flight at 7:25 a.m. November 4 from Houston to Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Tickets on the Dreamliner routes will be available online starting Saturday.

Other routes in what United calls a "temporary" schedule will include Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.

The new Dreamliner 787\'s LED interior lights can change the mood inside the cabin.
The new Dreamliner 787's LED interior lights can change the mood inside the cabin.
Go inside Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner
First 787 Dreamliner lands in Boston
787 Dreamliner airplane takes off

By year's end, the airline expects to be flying more than 470 U.S. segments.

United's Dreamliner schedule

"Everyone's very excited, even people who aren't in the industry," said Phil Derner, founder of the aviation news site NYCAviation.com. "There's a ton of new technology on the 787. It's efficient and performs well, and it's also a very good-looking aircraft. It's kind of like a sports car in the sky."

Attention window seat lovers: A lot of the buzz surrounding the Dreamliner touches on its new-fangled portals.

Its windows are much larger than standard airliners. Thanks to an "electrochromic dimming system" that uses a special gel inside the glass, you can "turn down" the light coming through the windows with the touch of a button.

Related story: Are you a window flier or an aisle seater?

Other touted benefits of the new aircraft:

More room: Overhead luggage bins "store up and away rather than cutting into overhead space like conventional stowage bins," says Boeing's website.

Fewer headaches and dizziness: The plane's cabin can be pressurized at altitudes as low as 6,000 feet, which experts say may help lessen physical discomfort from flying.

Cheaper to operate: The plane also saves money on fuel because its body is made from lightweight composite materials.

United says its Dreamliners will include 36 first-class seats, 72 premium-economy seats and 111 economy seats. Its first of 50 ordered Dreamliners is expected to be delivered in late September.

The airline has already announced plans to fly 787s on international routes, beginning in December between Houston and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and next year to Japan, China, Nigeria and London.

Are you interested in flying on the Dreamliner? Tell us why or why not in the comments section below.

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