Having already toured ANA’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Boeing factory (and served up a detailed photo gallery of same), the next logical step for Australian Business Traveller was to take a flight on the 787.
I visited Tokyo as a guest of ANA for a special 90 minute ‘excursion flight’ from Narita which provided a taste of what the Dreamliner will really deliver for travellers.
In addition to a handful of media and VIP guests the 787 was filled with passengers who won a ticket for this special flight in a lottery held by ANA. As you’d expect there was plenty of excitement on the plane, with people clapping and cheering after take-off and landing.
The 787’s wing has an incredible bend, which is of course part of the aircraft’s radical design, and this photo doesn’t do it justice.
The bend is much more impressive in person, as those who see the 787 on its visit to Sydney and Melbourne next week will discover for themselves.
(I’m also wondering if the crew of any airline flying the 787 will have to reassure passengers “The wings are supposed to look like that.”)
During boarding, ANA programmed the Dreamliner’s LED lighting to display this rainbow light-show as a visual treat for passengers.
For most of the remainder of the flight, the lighting was wound back to standard 'ANA blue'.
The 787’s take-off felt smooth and controlled, and from that point all the way through the flight the cabin was even quieter than that of an Airbus A380 – a trait that all travellers will certainly appreciate. (There are plenty of reasons why business travellers will love the 787, as we detail here.)
I was seated in 9D, which is an aisle seat in the centre section, but thanks to the 787’s oversized windows – which are almost a third larger than that of a conventional aircraft – it was still easy to look out of the windows during flight.
This provided ample opportunity to enjoy the scenery, which included this view of Mt Fuji.
Those larger windows also contribute to the cabin’s lighter, brighter and more open feel – although if things get too bright there’s always the capability for passengers or the flight crew to activate the windows’ electronic dimming.
Even so, with the windows fully dimmed you can still see outside and enjoy being ‘connected’ with the experience of flight.
This snack bar wasn’t used during the flight and is actually intended only for ANA’s international configurations of the 787.
Snacks served during the flight were branded with commemorative ANA 787 messaging.
This 787 was outfitted for ANA’s domestic economy service and the leg room in economy would a bit tight if you’re on the tall side – say, 1.85 metres or 6’1” – but there will be more leg room on the international versions.
The seat backs are fixed and do not recline, but the bottom seat cushion can inch forward.
The 787 can be configured up to nine seats across in the economy cabin. ANA opted for eight seats in a 2-4-2 layout (it’s a roomier 2-2-2 in business) and I felt quite comfortable during my time on the 787.
Overall, the 787 Dreamliner more than lived up to my expectations. It’s an incredible aircraft that will ‘evolutionise’ the travel experience for passengers through the aircraft’s design leaps in technology, efficiency and cabin comfort.
I firmly believe the 787 Dreamliner will be the new standard in world travel and will make many frequent fliers change their airline choices based on which carriers fly the Dreamliner.
Also in AusBT's Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage:
- Fan pays $32,700 for seat on first ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight
- Qantas brings Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Australia next week
- Exclusive photo tour: inside ANA's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Photos: inside the Boeing 787's funky crew rest 'loft'
- Why business travellers will love the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Boeing’s 787 nixes first class for business, premium economy
- Photos & video: Inside the first ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Boeing chooses Android for 787 Dreamliner's entertainment system
- Qantas does the 787 shuffle
- United aims for first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights by mid-2012