Big news for travelers today coming from an announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In the wake of several mishaps, most prominently a small fire on January 7th aboard an empty Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan Airport, followed last night by an emergency landing of one of All Nippon Airways’ Dreamliners at a Japan airport, the FAA ordered an emergency grounding of the Dreamliners fleet. The only US airline to own Dreamliners thus far is United, which operates six. The two Japanese airlines, which together own about one-third of all the Dreamliners currently in service, have already grounded theirs (passengers on codeshare flights with American Airlines and British Airways should note that they have an agreement with Japan Airlines to allow you to rebook your flight on a different aircraft), as have Air India, Chile’s LAN Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines, and the Polish airline LOT.
The major concern with the fleet is their lithium-ion batteries. The Dreamliner, more than any other modern airliner, uses electricity to power almost all of its components and many of its operations. In order to do this, Boeing made the decision to power it with rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which are allegedly less stable than more traditional batteries. Both of the major problems (the fire in Boston and emergency landing in Japan) appear to have been caused by issues with these batteries. Carriers will have to demonstrate the batteries are safe before the planes can resume flying.
Here at Liberty Travel, we are doing everything in our power to collect information and reach out to our customers affected by the grounding of all 787 Dreamliners in an effort to help with making alternative travel arrangements. For affected passengers who are currently traveling or who are scheduled to fly on a 787 Dreamliner, please call our Emergency Travel Center at 1-888-634-7702. If you are calling from out of the country, please dial 201-661-9587.