Inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Reduced jet-lag, ‘global kitchen’ and ultra-green… the future of air travel?
Long-haul flights are the scourge of many – being squashed into an economy seat with cramped leg room can make a 10-hour flight or longer seem never-ending. The Dreamliner promises to revolutionise air travel, providing cutting edge features, comfort and luxury while being ultra-green.
Thomson Airways, the first UK airline to fly the revolutionary aircraft, hope that it will leave holiday makers relaxed and feeling fresh after long flights.
Carl Gissing, Director of Customer Service at Thomson Airways, said: “The aeroplane is very much part of our modernisation programme – we want to put unique holidays out to our customers and the Dreamliner 787 is a pig part of that.”
Mr Gissing says that the aircraft is state-of-the-art and will provide a unique experience for all travellers as soon as they step on board.
MM explored the luxury jet and picked out our favourite features including on-board entertainment and hospitality as well as impressive technology.
As soon as you step on-board it is clear that this aeroplane is different to the rest – even the economy seats look inviting.
The seats are a generous 34 inches wide and the spacious leg room guarantees comfort – even if you are sat in the dreaded middle seat.
In Premier Club customers are rewarded with an extra-large seat measuring 38 inches wide, allowing customers to truly sit back and enjoy the ride.
The aeroplane boasts larger aisles than any other aircraft giving customers the freedom to move around freely without disturbing others.
It’s not just the seats and aisles that are bigger – the Dreamliner’s windows are 30% bigger than the average aircraft.
The real game changer about the windows though is that passengers can adjust the level of light that comes through with just the click of a button.
Instead of pulling plastic shades up or down, the windows are fitted with an electrochromic dimming system which turns the windows from fully transparent to completely dimmed.
However it’s the Audio Visual On Demand technology that excites us the most – even the least tech-savvy would relish the opportunity to have a go.
Every passenger, regardless of class, has their own media unit which allows them to watch television shows and films, listen to music, play games and more.
Mr Gissing said that the joy of this equipment is that passengers can be entertained how they want and when they want – if they don’t like the music they can change it.
Likewise, holiday-makers can choose what in-flight film they watch and pause it at their own free-will – but he is most proud of the plug-in feature.
Passengers can plug in their own equipment including cameras and mp3 players – he said this is great for viewing your holiday snaps on the way home.
For managing director of Thomson Airways, Chris Browne, one of the great features of this aircraft is its ability to reduce the symptoms of jetlag.
The Dreamliner is fitted with a unique LED mood lighting system which recreates the sunrise and the sunset of the destination being travelled to.
Customers are gradually eased into time zone changes which helps to combat and reduce travel fatigue.
As well as this, there are higher humidity levels in the cabin which reduce the symptoms of dryness and dehydration which can contribute to jet lag.
It may seem like a bold statement – but it’s one Ms Browne stands by and it seem she is living testament to the claim.
She said: “I think customers will be very satisfied. I’ve been on a 10 hour flight from Seattle and I feel great.
“I think the other thing is there’s much more humidity which gives you a better sense of well-being.”
She says that the new engine technology used generates up to 60% less noise pollution during take-off and landing than similar aircrafts and the overall flight is quieter too.
Thomson Airways have also re-launched their on-board products and services which also go a long way to making sure the Dreamliner provides comfort and relaxation.
Mr Gissing said that research with customers through focus groups helped the airline to determine what kind of food people wanted to see.
On-board the Dreamliner a 3-course meal including a drink comes as standard, and if lucky enough to be seated in the Premier Club passengers can look forward to four course meal.
The menu features a mix of Great British classics with exotic new dishes that all form part of their ‘global kitchen’.
Mr Gissing said: “We want to excite our customers about the holiday destinations we go to and that is a unique position for us.
“We are starting to travel to Thailand in November, so we have introduced the Thai green curry.”
He said that the global kitchen dishes will excite all customers and be available on-board to passengers travelling to all destinations.
He said: “Customers are at the heart of what we do and when we research things with our customers they give us a really clear insight and curry is one of the most popular things.”
Thomson’s first long-haul Dreamliner flights will operate from Manchester to Florida and Glasgow to Cancun on July 8.
The Dreamliner will fly direct to Phuket in Thailand from November and from summer 2014 holidays to Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta will be introduced.