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  #10621  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2017, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mr1138 View Post
I'm still not sure I understand or fully buy the argument that the train couldn't be extended to create more concourses. There may be logistical challenges... perhaps even to the point that it would need to be closed temporarily and replaced with some kind of Dulles-style people movers while the end-of-the-line issues are resolved and rebuilt. But temporary construction headaches seem to pale in comparison to making long-term design mistakes. The basic premise of additional concourses seems to be undoubtedly better than allowing the Pena Blvd entrance to become some sort of LAX or JFK style Frankenstein's monster of a design. In spite of some of its flaws, I have always loved the geometric simplicity of DIA, which I think makes it very easy and low-stress to navigate even if it may take a bit more time to move through than a decentralized airport.
From what I read and have understood, the airport prefers building the east and west concourses first as they won't have to do something about the train right away, and the concourses will be closer to the terminal, which is more ideal for how traffic at DIA eventually panned out. DIA was built presuming 65% of passengers would be connecting from one place to another. Turns out now, 65% of passengers are actually starting or ending their trips in Denver. Whoops!

Also, do not get me started about the mess that is LAX. Getting there and back is an unmitigated struggle. It is unpredictable except for that you can always predict you'll end up sitting in traffic for at least 15-20 minutes in that World Way Loop before you can even get to the curb. Say what you will about DIA being in Kansas or whatnot, and sure, traffic to and from DIA is a little heavier than it has been in the past, but I still think it's a pretty accessible airport.

As for the tunnel walkway thing, I think it's one of those ideas where on paper, it seems stupid that it doesn't exist and that people *should* have the option of walking to all concourses. But in reality, it probably wouldn't justify the cost, and any such tunnels beyond Concourse A would be so long that I could imagine people would then start walking and then complain about how long they are and possibly misconnect, when the train could have gotten them there faster all along. DIA is not Atlanta— the concourses here are spaced so far out that two 747s can back out from gates on opposite concourses and still have two 747s pass in between them.

Plus, the train system is very reliable for what it is. You could count the number of times it's failed on one hand and still have fingers left over.
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  #10622  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2017, 4:45 AM
Zmapper Zmapper is offline
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New concourses to the east and west of the terminal would likely have a better chance at getting airline buy-in, as the new concourses can be built to suit individual airline needs and preferences.

What I'd do is build the new west concourse for the ULCC's, Spirit and Frontier. This concourse could be one level with stair gates only in order to save on construction cost. The new east concourse would be built as a 3-story (baggage, arrivals before customs and immigration, departures) international concourse. Due to the higher-than-expected number of international flights than a 90s planner could have expected for a mid-continental airport, the international gates are over capacity today.

This leaves concourse C for Southwest, B for United, and A for everybody else.
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  #10623  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2017, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Zmapper View Post
Due to the higher-than-expected number of international flights than a 90s planner could have expected for a mid-continental airport, the international gates are over capacity today.
I always think it's an interesting DIA footnote that there originally was supposed to be an international concourse. The original plans called for a Concourse "T" with international-equipped gates right at the north side of the terminal, just like Atlanta. But when no airlines had yet committed to move to DIA, Continental agreed to sign a lease but only if they could get the A concourse to themselves along with a foot bridge. Also, as a way of cutting costs on the DIA project, Continental suggested scrapping the T gates in favor of putting the international gates in what would just-so-conveniently become their own concourse. Pretty smart on Continental's part, even if they dehubbed Denver right as DIA opened, and now we live with the current setup.

In the near-term, I'd like to see A fully turn into an international concourse along with United running out of both A and B. United is expanding so much that they really need the gate space, and B will be pretty much maxed out with this next round of gate additions. Even as it is today, United is running some domestic departures out of A. C was always supposed to be the "all others" low rent concourse, so I'd rather see Frontier and friends out there. But of course, Southwest has big plans for expansion, too. Should be interesting to see what happens!

Edit: For TakeFive Here's a PDF of DIA's master plan executive summary from March 2012. It's the only master plan I could find with a date on it, and while it was written before the hotel and RTD station even started construction, it reflects more or less the final design. It's also interesting to see more details about how the east/west concourses may be built, why building a looped train system for Concourses D and E is such a challenge, and potential ways DIA could expand the terminal south of the hotel and above the train station!

Last edited by CharlesCO; Aug 6, 2017 at 11:07 AM.
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  #10624  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2017, 2:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesCO View Post
Edit: For TakeFive Here's a PDF of DIA's master plan executive summary from March 2012. It's the only master plan I could find with a date on it, and while it was written before the hotel and RTD station even started construction, it reflects more or less the final design. It's also interesting to see more details about how the east/west concourses may be built, why building a looped train system for Concourses D and E is such a challenge, and potential ways DIA could expand the terminal south of the hotel and above the train station!
That makes me wonder, is DIA in the process of updating their master plan? Seems about due for some fresh eyes to look at it and make tweaks as needed.
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  #10625  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2017, 4:00 PM
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Merry Christmas transit nerds. Click here if you want to buy any of this stuff. Or click here to see other cities. Here's SLC (in mountain west solidarity).





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  #10626  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2017, 4:01 PM
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Also, someone tell me what the blue bus with the mountain livery is. The third one from left categorized under "city bus."
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  #10627  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2017, 4:30 PM
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Also, someone tell me what the blue bus with the mountain livery is. The third one from left categorized under "city bus."
I refuse to tell you that those are Gillig Hybrid buses. Mainly because your image doesn't have the red 16th Street Mall Ride buses. Plus he didn't put on call-a-ride and Englewood's bus. It's fine he didn't put on more Boulder buses, though.

Instead they are RFTA buses.
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  #10628  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2017, 10:45 PM
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All's Fair in Love and Airline Airfare Wars

An Airline Fare War Is Brewing Courtesy of Frontier
August 2, 2017 by Justin Bachman - Bloomberg
Quote:
The ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) that sports wild animals on its tails plans to double its footprint by next summer, adding 21 cities and 85 routes for a total of 1,000 routes that will enable it to reach 90 percent of the U.S. population. The expansion has a heavy focus on Florida and Denver, Frontier’s home base, and is part of a planned expansion that will see its fleet rise from 75 Airbus SE A320-family aircraft to 120 planes by 2022. By spreading its lower fare flights across most of the country, Frontier crowed, it will save travelers more than $1 billion.
Quite good read about Frontier's strategy and risk. While there's a bit of review it's mostly an insightful look into Frontier's plans and intent. It would seem they've assessed not only their own success in recent years but also taken a close look at what works in Europe. The overall thrust is that there's more than enough market segmentation for all to survive.

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Originally Posted by CharlesCO View Post
Edit: For TakeFive Here's a PDF of DIA's master plan executive summary from March 2012. It's the only master plan I could find with a date on it, and while it was written before the hotel and RTD station even started construction, it reflects more or less the final design. It's also interesting to see more details about how the east/west concourses may be built, why building a looped train system for Concourses D and E is such a challenge, and potential ways DIA could expand the terminal south of the hotel and above the train station!
Yup, that's the one I crawled through and (mostly) relied on when I did a series of posts last year.

BTW, great, interesting, historical background info.

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Originally Posted by seventwenty View Post
I refuse to tell you that those are Gillig Hybrid buses. Mainly because your image doesn't have the red 16th Street Mall Ride buses. Plus he didn't put on call-a-ride and Englewood's bus. It's fine he didn't put on more Boulder buses, though.

Instead they are RFTA buses.
Isn't there anyplace in America where bus ridership is rising?
Yes, yes there is. Check out the now famous mountain dinosaur the Velociraptor.

Ridership on RFTA’s Maroon Bells bus swelled to new heights Monday
July 7, 2017 by Madeleine Osberger - Aspen Daily News

Public bus system likely headed to record ridership in Roaring Fork Valley
July 24, 2017 by Scott Condon - Aspen Times
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  #10629  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 3:59 AM
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I'm sure this information is burried in previous posts, but a couple of notes. The new gate at the airport will "telescope" out most of the concourses, and bring the airport "within spitting distance" of full build out of A, B and C. I've heard conflicting reports as to if another "node" (filling in the upstairs level to connect it to the foreign entry bridge at DEN) is included on A.

In terms of D, the train line already runs all the way to where D concourse would be. The bigger problem is that they would theoretically have to add additional capacity to go out to where E would be. This is problematic because United currently has a hanger over that particular spot. United is contractually obligated to "move it" when the airport needs them too, but you can bet exactly how well that would go over with the airline. That being said, you could terminate the line pretty easily at D with a long slow loop, which would increase capacity for the entire system.

In terms of walking tunnels, the big change between DEN and ATL, is that ATL gets screwed up when wide bodies come into the gates,by blocking planes on adjacent concourses from backing out at the same time. Therefore they built the gates at DEN so that two 747s can simultaneously push back from each gate _ and _ two 747s can taxi between them at the same time as the planes are pushed back. Hence, the distances between the concourses is _much_ greater then ATL.

There are two separate tunnels that run alongside the train tunnels, but these tunnels are now used for something they were not originally planned for - luggage.
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  #10630  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 4:43 AM
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In terms of D, the train line already runs all the way to where D concourse would be. The bigger problem is that they would theoretically have to add additional capacity to go out to where E would be.
Actually, not quite. Looking at the diagrams in the master plan, the current train system stops a little short of where Concourse D is supposed to be. The larger issue with D and E is not that DIA doesn't want to extend the current train lines out there; it's that the existing train lines don't have enough capacity for that, and expanding the train system as planned would be really disruptive to the terminal. Here's a good diagram that shows the problem:



The issue is that the current, out-and-back train running along the airport's spine has enough capacity to handle the full buildout of A, B, and C. That's 7,600 passengers per hour with the current system.

In essence, the train system as it is built now was never built to handle a pure expansion into D and E. The airport's original plan (left) was to always expand the train system by building loops south of the terminal so that the trains could run on independent cycles and hit underground stations on both ends of each concourse through two additional tunnels east and west of the concourses. That would mean that each concourse would have three underground train stations instead of only one. Had that been built, it would have nearly tripled the train's capacity to 18,000 passengers per hour — more than enough to handle another two concourses' worth of people.

The only issue with that is that DIA just didn't build it that way. In order to do this now, they'd have to build tunnels all out in the airfields, significant modifications to each end of each concourse to build another series of underground platforms, and loops at the south end of the terminal. Aside from (as far as I know) an extra loop south of the terminal, all of this would have to be built from scratch, and also all while the airport remained in operation.

I honestly never knew the train system was supposed to loop out this way until I read this master plan. Looking at it now, I totally see why they're looking at alternative ways of building D and E. I'm guessing that when DIA was built, they must have planned to build these additional train tunnels, but never did because of cost overruns, so they just stuck with the central spine to handle the first three concourses.

As for the "spitting distance" thing, Kim Day is right. They are doing everything to plan. After adding these upcoming ~25 gates to A, B, and C, they can only built another 25 gates after that before all three are maxed out.

TL;DR: The current DIA train was designed with the eventual idea of serving five concourses, but as built, it can only serve A, B, and C when fully built out.
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  #10631  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 5:14 AM
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7,600 an hour for the DIA trains? Christ, we're nearing 24-hour capacity. At 60,000,00 passengers a year, evenly spaced over 24-hours and 365 days, that 6,800/hr. At 18-hours a day, it's over 9,000/hr. TakeFive can meme that out. Of course the bridge helps.

Also if United wants to increase capacity at DIA, rumors were 50% increase over the next decade (yes? Charles?), they're gonna need more 737-900s and fewer RJs. Plus whatever Boeing keeps hinting will replace 757s and 737s. B's nearly at build out as is. Charles, how banked is United's DIA hub?
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  #10632  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 5:37 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlesCO View Post
Actually, not quite. Looking at the diagrams in the master plan, the current train system stops a little short of where Concourse D is supposed to be. The larger issue with D and E is not that DIA doesn't want to extend the current train lines out there; it's that the existing train lines don't have enough capacity for that, and expanding the train system as planned would be really disruptive to the terminal. Here's a good diagram that shows the problem:


I'd like a reference on this, because I literally have _the book_ on the construction of the airport, and I've seen the original master plan. Neither of those documents reference this, and the first I became aware of a looping track was not until the mid 2000s.

Quote:
The issue is that the current, out-and-back train running along the airport's spine has enough capacity to handle the full buildout of A, B, and C. That's 7,600 passengers per hour with the current system.
I talked with a city engineer who worked on the design for the airport. The original design was considered enough because of two failed assumptions:
1) That they could get fast turns of the train
2) That the majority feed would be connecting, not O&D. The "conservative" estimate was 60% connecting, 40% originations, while there were projections as great as 85/15%, with Denver forming a "continental superhub" in the united states, with three to five major carriers hubbing there. Obviously, history turned out differently. (Not the three carriers part though, ironically enough).

So I suspect that this was generated sometime after the airport. I did see a reference that the secondary tunnels that run alongside the primaries might have eventually been used for this purpose, once the baggage system was fixed (hah!)

Quote:
I honestly never knew the train system was supposed to loop out this way until I read this master plan. Looking at it now, I totally see why they're looking at alternative ways of building D and E. I'm guessing that when DIA was built, they must have planned to build these additional train tunnels, but never did because of cost overruns, so they just stuck with the central spine to handle the first three concourses.
So again, as of the 1995 master plan (I need to find that PDF again) which shows full build outs of A, B, C, D & E - as well as the abandoned freight concourse across Pena, didn't have the rail lines. I think it was introduced later.

Quote:
As for the "spitting distance" thing, Kim Day is right. They are doing everything to plan. After adding these upcoming ~25 gates to A, B, and C, they can only built another 25 gates after that before all three are maxed out.

It depends on the architecture and what they put in there. Right now, a lot of B is totally bottlenecked by the additional regional load stations they added.
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  #10633  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 5:45 AM
lostknight lostknight is offline
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7,600 an hour for the DIA trains? Christ, we're nearing 24-hour capacity. At 60,000,00 passengers a year, evenly spaced over 24-hours and 365 days, that 6,800/hr. At 18-hours a day, it's over 9,000/hr. TakeFive can meme that out. Of course the bridge helps.

Also if United wants to increase capacity at DIA, rumors were 50% increase over the next decade (yes? Charles?), they're gonna need more 737-900s and fewer RJs. Plus whatever Boeing keeps hinting will replace 757s and 737s. B's nearly at build out as is. Charles, how banked is United's DIA hub?

Also bear in mind, that if they do the main terminal renewal, they may just move O&D traffic to pass through the main bridge (no security checkpoint there anyway) and limit the train traffic to connecting passengers on B&C. This makes double sense because A is more dominated by O&D traffic then UA's B, or WN's C concourses.

In terms of capacity, UA can squeeze a lot of additional capacity out of their existing gates if they want to. WN runs close to twice the gate efficiency (flights per day per gate) that UA does. WN has considerably quicker turn around time (20 minutes on paper to 30 minutes for UA, on paper) although my experience with southwest is that their number is closer to 30 minutes at denver.
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  #10634  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 7:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlesCO View Post
TL;DR: The current DIA train was designed with the eventual idea of serving five concourses, but as built, it can only serve A, B, and C when fully built out.
I'm obviously not near the airport geek that you and some others are. Adding in my limited attention span meant that a year ago when I went through that pdf I zeroed on certain highlights and future expectations and skipped over a lot of it. I missed the whole loop-around additional trains plan. Glad you filled in that hole; pretty interesting.

Explained: The $1.8 billion DIA security line fix, who’s for it, who’s against it and why
August 7, 2017 by Erica Meltzer - Denverite

While a bit long Erica Meltzer does a really nice job of looking into this proposal. Worth the time to read it. A few highlights:
Hint: It's mostly about security (I knew that) and getting rid of a yuge headache and responsibility.
Quote:
The sometimes hundreds of people waiting in line to pass through security at Denver International Airport represent a serious vulnerability that can’t be fixed in the existing configuration of the airport’s Great Hall.

Security experts have known and warned for some time that the most vulnerable parts of our airports are the areas before we go through security screening. That terrorists are also aware of this became very clear last year in attacks on the Istanbul and Brussels airports, as well as a Brussels subway station. “If the terrorists’ goal is to cause maximum loss of life and mass casualties, the target will be the area with the greatest number of people ... security consultant Matthew Finn told Conde Nast Traveler in the wake of the Istanbul and Brussels attacks.

So the need to relocate security — and make it safer and more efficient in the process — is what’s driving this project
With respect to the Great Hall.
Quote:
Airport spokeswoman Stacey Stegman is careful about terminology here — these won’t be “higher end” concessions but “higher quality.” The focus will be on retail shops, rather than food and drink, and the idea is to have stores that evoke our local culture.

“We know we are not an LAX or some of the European airports,” Stegman said. “Our customer base is not going to come to the airport and buy a $3,000 purse, but you might have a store that sells some cool outdoor gear. We can have things that fit with the Colorado brand.”
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  #10635  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 8:46 AM
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Originally Posted by seventwenty View Post
Also if United wants to increase capacity at DIA, rumors were 50% increase over the next decade (yes? Charles?), they're gonna need more 737-900s and fewer RJs. Plus whatever Boeing keeps hinting will replace 757s and 737s. B's nearly at build out as is. Charles, how banked is United's DIA hub?
That's right. They're upgauing as many aircraft as they can. A lot of those smaller western markets that used to only see RJs now get an A319 or two. They also reopened the 757/767 pilot base in Denver, partly for all those Hawaii flights, but who knows what else. And they have 150+ 737-9s and 737-10s on order, and almost all of that is for growth.

As for the banks, I already thought DIA was pretty heavily-banked as it is, but in the last earnings call, they said they're going to rebuild and re-bank Denver's schedule next year. That should facilitate a lot more connections to and from all directions all at once. All I know is that right now, there are at least one or two banks in the morning where every gate in B is taken and United even uses some of the international gates in A for domestic departures.

And don't forget that it's also rumored that Denver will soon become Southwest's largest station!

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Originally Posted by lostknight View Post
I talked with a city engineer who worked on the design for the airport. The original design was considered enough because of two failed assumptions:
1) That they could get fast turns of the train
2) That the majority feed would be connecting, not O&D. The "conservative" estimate was 60% connecting, 40% originations, while there were projections as great as 85/15%, with Denver forming a "continental superhub" in the united states, with three to five major carriers hubbing there. Obviously, history turned out differently. (Not the three carriers part though, ironically enough).

So I suspect that this was generated sometime after the airport. I did see a reference that the secondary tunnels that run alongside the primaries might have eventually been used for this purpose, once the baggage system was fixed (hah!)
Thanks for the book suggestion; I'll have to look into it. And thanks for the correction. I had never seen that looped design before and had only heard references to it from airport officials. I presumed it must have been part of the original plan only because that's quite a bit of extensive additional construction. I never really delved into all of this that much, despite how closely I've followed our beloved airport through the years.

I think the O&D missed projections are probably a result of underestimating how much this city has ended up growing in the last 25 years, though as for connecting traffic, I think DIA is well on its way to being a continental superhub. Atlanta handles 100 million passengers a year in less space, and it wouldn't surprise me to see DIA grow even more. Who would have thought traffic would have doubled by now, too? And as for the three hubs, didn't Peña try to get Delta (originally Western) to move its hub from SLC back to Denver once DIA opened? They left partly as a protest over Stapleton.
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  #10636  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 3:02 PM
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Plus whatever Boeing keeps hinting will replace 757s and 737s.
797

I have no idea what number they're going to give the next planes though....
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  #10637  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 3:09 PM
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A cut-and-cover tunnel sounds extremely difficult, like needing to close some gates and turn taxi-ways into cul de sacs for lengthy periods so construction is walled off.

But I wonder if deep-bore tunneling would work. They're very unobtrusive except at the stations and ends, with no significant disruption otherwise at the surface.
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  #10638  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 5:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jbssfelix View Post
797

I have no idea what number they're going to give the next planes though....
Has Boeing officially given the MoM plane a designation yet? Ala 7E7 to 787? Sure the new plane's probably going to be the 797, but I hold out hope that it'll be something else.
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  #10639  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 5:46 PM
jbssfelix jbssfelix is offline
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Originally Posted by seventwenty View Post
Has Boeing officially given the MoM plane a designation yet? Ala 7E7 to 787? Sure the new plane's probably going to be the 797, but I hold out hope that it'll be something else.
Boeing is still tight-lipped on the official designation afaik, but I think everyone's pretty safely assuming this will get dubbed the 797. That should round out their lineup with newer planes (sans the ever-plastic-surgeried 737).

So I personally think this may be the last of the 7XX-series planes. Bring on the 8XX!
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  #10640  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2017, 8:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jbssfelix View Post
797

I have no idea what number they're going to give the next planes though....
That's interesting.

I flew United to LAX last week and both flights were on a 787. I'd never flown one before, and it was the nicest plane I've flown on in a long time. Spacious (I was in economy plus) and great in flight entertainment.

I've also flown 777s to/from SFO this year, so apparently United is upping capacity on busy routes. The 787 to LAX appeared to be full.
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