American Airlines and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport made history Thursday.
Before sunrise, American Airlines' Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its debut on a short flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. AA Flight 2320 departed D/FW at 7:10 a.m. and arrived at O'Hare a little more than two hours later at 9:32 a.m.
The airline marked another historic first Thursday morning with the first nonstop flight from D/FW to Beijing. AA Flight 89 departed at approximately 11:20 a.m. and should arrive in China about 13 hours later, at about 2:15 p.m. Friday.
Thursday's international trip took place in a retrofitted Boeing 777-200. In June, the D/FW to Beijing flights will also be made using the 787 Dreamliner.
"We finally get the opportunity to show our customers what the 787 is really all about," American Airlines Executive Fern Fernandez said. "We have 42 of these state-of-the-art airplanes on order, so the 787 will be a regular sight here at D/FW in the months and years to come."
Passengers on the Chicago flight began arriving at the airport before 5 a.m.
"This is my first time flying an inaugural flight like this, so I want to soak it all in and get the most out of this experience," passenger Dylan Oakes said.
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Compared to the company's 777, the upgraded jet is more fuel efficient, seats more passengers and boasts innovative amenities, including:
- Wider seats
- Noise cancellation technology
- Improved carry-on storage
- Buttons that tint windows
- Better cabin lighting
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry more than 250 passengers more than 9,000 miles is about 20 percent more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767.
A few hours after the Dreamliner took off, passengers boarded the first non-stop flight from DFW to Beijing. It was a 777.
“The new Beijing flight reinforces Americans’ commitment to strengthening our global presence,” said American Airlines CEO, Doug Parker.
NBC 5's Jeff Smith, Frank Heinz and Julie Fine contributed to this report.