American Airlines unveils new 777s

American Airlines purchases 15 Boeing 777-300ERs

Published On: Jan 31 2013 10:48:12 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 01 2013 02:21:06 PM EST
DALLAS -

American Airlines has unveiled the "Silver Bird," the world's largest twin jet-engine aircraft.

American Airlines is the first U.S. airline to add a Boeing 777-300ER to its fleet.

"In person, it looks really great. I'm excited, " said Chris Sloan.

Sloan, a self-proclaimed aviation geek from Miami flew to Dallas and bought a ticket to Brazil just to be the first to fly on the new plane.

"Because American Airlines is so ionic in this country, it is one of our four legacy carriers," he said.

The 777-300ER is a stretch version of Boeing's 777 line. It's almost as long a football field -- 242 feet -- and nearly as wide.

It's equipped with cameras on the stabilizers and underbelly to help pilots safely taxi on the tarmac. American Airlines Capt. Jim Dees said it's one of the safest airplanes he's ever flown.

"The 777-300ER is a Mercedes. It is an incredible airplane," said Dees.

Boeing says the aircraft is one of its most efficient airlines, using 30 percent less fuel than it's rival and costs 40 percent less to maintain.

But it's also more expensive. Boeing sells the 777-300ER for nearly $300 million.

Some consider it a hefty tab for an airline emerging from bankruptcy, but airline industry analyst Seth Kaplan called it a strategic move. He said American Airlines is betting that fuel prices will remain high.

The 777 is equipped to carry nearly 300 passengers. It seats 10 across in the economy section. Passenger can choose from more than 250 movies, 180 television programs, and 350 music stations, and there's satellite Wi-Fi throughout.

The plane began flying nonstop from Dallas to Sao Paolo, Brazil, on Thursday.

American Airlines has purchased fifteen 777s.