Jetstar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its first commercial flight today, carrying its first paying passengers between Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Both legs of the inaugural run are predictably booked out, as aviation enthusiasts keen to fly Australia's first Boeing 787 mingle with regular Jetstar passengers who may well wonder what all the fuss is about – at least until they experience the shiny new Dreamliner compared to their usual Airbus A330.
The next-gen jet boasts a bevy of passenger-friendly features including a larger and more spacious cabin with more room for carry-on luggage, a quieter smoother ride plus lower cabin pressure and increased humidity to reduce the effects of jetlag.
From tomorrow, Thursday November 14th, Jetstar's Boeing 787 will also be scheduled for a daily Melbourne – Cairns flight.
You can grab a ticket at www.jetstar.com/dreamliner/routes – look for the special Dreamliner icon next to the flight to be sure you don't end up on one of the conventional Airbus A330 services.
If you want to sit in business class (although it's more like premium economy) instead of economy, purchase a Plus or Max bundle fare and select a seat in the first three rows.
Review, photos: Jetstar's Boeing 787 business class
These domestic Boeing 787 flights aren't just about publicity – they're an important part of prepping the Dreamliner and its crew for international services, which begin on December 18th as Jetstar rosters the Boeing 787 on the popular Melbourne-Bali route for the summer period.
Two more Boeing 787s will be delivered to Jetstar by the end of this year but won't begin flying until early 2014, by which time the debutante Dreamliner is expected to come off its 'school holidays' Bali run and allow Jetstar to launch new 787 routes.
The airline hasn't revealed those routes as yet but Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says "we expect to add more destinations, including Phuket, Japan, Hawaii and Singapore, to the 787's flying schedule as we receive more aircraft."
By 2015 Jetstar will have an all-787 fleet which will cover all destinations currently served by its Airbus A330s, which will be handed down to Qantas so that the Flying Kangaroo can replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 767s.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.