“We’re flying on a plastic plane daddy?” I over heard the young boy ask his father….
“Well,…um,…kinda” came the reply…..
I think the father wanted to explain that the aircraft was made up of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer making the aircraft stronger yet lighter but it might just be a little to much for the youngster to understand. I guess he was right carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer is plastic …isn’t it?
There were many excited people and quite a few aviation enthusiasts at Melbournes Tullamarine Airport on the 3rd day of scheduled services for Jetstar’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner and I had joined a throng of bloggers, AvGeeks and holiday makers on a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast. As you may know I had already toured the aircraft when it came to Sydney in October but this was special, this was my first flight in the ‘Plastic Plane’.
Boarding was almost a bit of a party atmosphere as we had boarding passes checked and made our way down the aerobridge and onboard this gleaming new aircraft, the first of fourteen for Jetstar and the 200th in service around the world. I was travelling in the Business Class cabin, although I had not paid for a Business Class fare. Jetstar don’t offer Business Class domestically, so I had just paid a fee for an extra leg room seat up the front, allowing me to experience the forward cabin and seats 🙂
The aircraft had an impressive new smell, almost like a new car with fresh leather seats. The 21 Business Class seats are recliner style with seats 3G and 3J perhaps the best in cabin. This is due to the extra recline they have as they will be designated crew rest seats on longer sectors such as Melbourne to Denpasar Bali and Sydney to Phuket. The seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration are upholstered in dark grey leather and have a comfortable seat pitch of 38″ / 96.5cms. The cabin and seats have more of a Premium Economy feel rather than Business. Jetstar has previously stated they have not installed sleeper seats but stayed with the recliner style as they are not needed on short to medium haul flights and by having the recliners, they can keep the fares lower.
There was so much excitement in the cabin and even though on this 2 hour sector, headphones and entertainment was complimentary for Business class, I dont think many people used them as most of us were playing with the buttons and taking photo’s of anything and everything! On the Jetstar 787’s every seat comes with a personal entertainment unit featuring movies, tv shows games and childrens programming. As mentioned it is complentary for Business Class, for economy some programming is free while a fee applies for the full content.
One of the best things I often find in a Business Class cabin is the power outlet – perfect to charge your equipment or to have a marathon movie session on your laptop or tablet. The 787 also comes with USB outlets so you can watch your own entertainment from a USB stick.
The windows are another major draw card for travellers on the 787 Dreamiliner. They are the largest windows of any commercial aircraft and sit at a higher eye level so passengers are eyelevel with the horizon. The size of the windows allow all in the aircraft to get an outside view while the size also lett in a lot of light making the cabin feel more spacious. There are no window shades and the the window can be tinted at the touch of a button even at the darkest tint you can still see outside.
I took a walk through the Economy Class cabin which seats 314 passengers in a 3-3-3 configuration with a slightly tight 30″ / 76.2cms seat pitch. As mentioned each seat has seat back entertainment and food and drinks can be purchased from the flight attendants.
The wings on this aircraft are an amazing sight when viewed inflight with the sweeping upward curve at a higher ratio than other aircraft of equal size. The upward bend is acheived through the stronger compsite materials used to build the aircraft – that carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer.
It was a fantastically exciting day! I had so much fun travelling on this new innovative aircraft with aviation enthusiasts! Jetstar has now put the aircraft into service internationally flying from Melbourne to Bali and Auckland, from Sydney to Bali and Phuket and from Brisbane to Bali and I would love to try one of these longer sectors on the plastic plane!
Bonus pictures – click for larger viewing