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10 Dreamliner Routes I Really Want to Fly

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The Boeing Dreamliner first launched in 2011 when it began operating domestic flights for ANA. Since then, dozens of airlines have introduced 787s of their own, with interiors ranging from uber-posh on Qatar to shockingly dated on JAL (though a refreshed cabin is coming soon). Since no two Dreamliners are exactly alike, naturally I want to fly them all — a few certainly stand out among the rest, be it due to a unique route or an extra-special plane.

Here’s my list of 10 Dreamliner routes that I really want to fly:

1. Dallas to Buenos Aires on American

Business class on American Airlines' Dreamliner.
Business class on American Airlines’ Dreamliner.

American finally launched its Dreamliner service earlier this year, and will eventually be operating the latest member of its fleet on several long-haul routes. One route I’m interested in flying in particular is Dallas to Buenos Aires. You can get a lot of value for the dollar traveling in Argentina right now (and plenty of other places), and the country has some beautiful attractions, from the European feel of Buenos Aires to the fantastic wine region of Mendoza. It’s also quite far from the US, giving me a solid 10 hours to hang out in AA’s 787 each way.

A Card to Get You There: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

2. Vancouver to Tokyo (HND) on ANA

ANA's Star Wars-themed 787.
ANA’s Star Wars-themed 787.

As the launch customer for Boeing’s Dreamliner, ANA’s been flying the 787 since late 2011. So naturally it’s now time for a refresh. ANA recently introduced a pretty nifty livery, in partnership with Lucasfilm — it’s an R2D2 Star-Wars themed plane, which will first be flying on the airline’s Vancouver to Tokyo route. While the interior isn’t quite as decked-out as EVA’s Hello Kitty jets, the R2D2 plane does have a few enhancements, including special headset covers, branded cups and napkins and all six Star Wars movies available on the in-flight entertainment system. You can use 70,000 United miles or 75,000 ANA miles (transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards) for a seat in business class.

A Card to Get You There: American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

3. Austin to London on British Airways (resumes in 2016)

British Airway's 787 from Austin to London will continue in 2016.
In the cabin of British Airways’ 787 route from Austin to London.

British Airways introduced its nonstop Austin to London Dreamliner route in March 2014. The flight, which gives you 10 hours of onboard airtime, offers three classes of service: business, premium economy and economy. This will be one of the first flights with the 787-9’s refreshed first class, with each seat featuring a 23-inch screen, additional storage space and more. I may look in to taking advantage of my companion ticket, which has been burning a hole in my pocket, to escape from SXSW next year! With more than 120,000 hotel rooms in London, there are plenty of opportunities to maximize your rewards when looking where to stay. You can redeem Starpoints to stay at one of the most popular SPG hotels, for example — rooms run from 20,000-25,000 points per night at the W Leicester Square, a Category 6 hotel.

A Card to Get You There: British Airways Visa Signature Card

4. Los Angeles to Dublin on Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines flies Los Angeles to Dublin three times per week.
Ethiopian Airlines flies Los Angeles to Dublin three times per week.

Starting June 2015, Ethiopian Airlines, a Star Alliance carrier, announced a unique fifth-freedom route, flying nonstop from Los Angeles to Dublin three times per week aboard its 787-8. The plane then continues on to Addis Ababa, but you can book just the first leg of the flight and get off in Ireland. The one-way flight will run you 30,000 United miles in economy or 70,000 miles in business. You can also redeem Aeroplan miles at a rate of 30,000 miles for coach or 45,000 for business, plus taxes and fees.

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5. New York to Tokyo on JAL

JAL’s new 787 Sky Suite.

JAL recently added its newer Sky Suite business-class seat on its nonstop 787 service from New York to Tokyo, complete with motorized seat partitions, lie-flat beds (with mattress pads) and touchscreen food and beverage ordering, which will definitely come in handy on the 14-hour flight. And there’s plenty to do once you get to Tokyo, one of my favorite destinations in Asia. The one-way business-class flight will run you just 50,000 AAdvantage miles.

A Card to Get You ThereCiti / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

6. Washington, D.C. to Abu Dhabi on Etihad

Etihad’s new Dreamliner.

In 2013, Etihad Airways became the first major carrier to offer a nonstop route between Washington, D.C. and Abu Dhabi, but it wasn’t until March 2015 the airline added service with its Dreamliner, the Boeing 787-9. The experience isn’t as posh as what you’ll get flying The Apartment or The Residence on Etihad’s A380, but you can still expect a five-star experience, especially in first class. Etihad partners with American Airlines, so you can use AAdvantage miles to fly the Dreamliner for 45,000 miles in coach, 67,500 miles in business or 90,000 in first.

A Card to Get You There: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard

7. San Francisco to Xi’an on United

United 787 BusinessFirst cabin.
United 787 BusinessFirst cabin.

United has been quickly expanding its 787-9 Dreamliner routes, and the latest scheduled to launch will take passengers nonstop from San Francisco to Xi’an, which is located in central China and home to the Terracotta Warriors. The airline applied for permission to begin the flight, and once approved, it will become the first airline to offer Xi’an flights to/from any city in the Americas. The approximate 13-hour journey will offer lie-flat BusinessFirst seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, Wi-Fi and United’s legendary in-flight service.

A Card to Get You ThereUnited MileagePlus Explorer Card

8. Frankfurt to Hanoi on Vietnam

Beginning next month, Vietnam is expected to start flying its 787-9 on the Frankfurt to Hanoi route (that’s the plane flying at the Paris Air Show up above). As the gateway to Northern Vietnam, including gorgeous Ha Long Bay, Hanoi is a great choice for an introductory visit to Vietnam (or elsewhere in Southeast Asia). It’s also a decent Delta SkyMiles redemption, at 80,000 miles each way (not including a leg from the US to Frankfurt). Plus, Starwood has a unique-looking Category 2 Sheraton in the city — it’s a reasonable choice for an SPG redemption, starting at just 3,000 points per night.

A Card to Get You There: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

9. London to Johannesburg on Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic's 787 interior.
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy cabin.

Virgin Atlantic started flying its new 787-9 Dreamliner in 2014 and has since been steadily adding new nonstop routes. The plane’s cabin features 31 seats in Upper Class (business), 35 in premium economy and 198 in economy. The airline is also a 1:1 transfer partner of both Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, but there are multiple ways to get the best value when booking with Virgin.

A Card to Get You There: Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard

10. Santiago to Easter Island on LAN

LAN Airline’s 787 Dreamliner.

LAN Airlines began its nonstop service from Santiago to Easter Island on its latest 787 Dreamliner. The nearly six-hour flight offers 283 coach seats and 30 business-class seats, with the modern interior design inspired by the colors and textures of the Santiago region. Getting to Easter Island is difficult, but once you arrive, there is plenty to see. I suggest going around the island with a guide who will show you see everything from the Moai to various craters and beaches throughout the island on a half-day or full-day tour.

A Card to Get You ThereBritish Airways Visa Signature Card

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