The bean-counters at Boeing might be having some sleepless nights about the Dreamliner, but should we, the humble travellers, be worried?

In truth, many of us have probably flown on aircraft with shonkier safety records* than the 787 will ever be tagged with. From clapped-out Cessnas, to sightseeing helicopters or champagne-soaked first class, all flights have their charms - and dangers.

So, what can we do? Easy: Sit back and try not to think about it. In flight, I'll always feel like a shaved monkey in a flying tin can - or rather, in the case of the 787, a flying hybrid plastic bucket.

Teething troubles with new aircraft are nothing new. Back in 1970, the first commercial flight by a brand new 747 was delayed by seven hours because of engine trouble. Other early Jumbos had similar problems.


Life must have been more simple back then. Boeing first announced their plans to build the Jumbo in 1966 and that first flight took off just four years later. That turnaround from announcement to first takeoff is quicker than the delay in Air New Zealand's Dreamliner deliveries.

The 747 worked out and put more than $120 billion into Boeing's coffers. So, Dreamliners? She'll be right.

* Shonkiest safety record of all: Boeing's 737 JT8D - the earliest 737 model - which runs at one crash per 507,500 flying hours. There are still more than 500 in operation, mostly in poorer countries and with airlines not noted for excellence in the field of maintenance.