Nigel Thompson joins a demo flight aboard the Boeing’s revolutionary aircraft, which can fly 9,400 miles in one go
Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford football stadium is called the Theatre of Dreams.
So it seemed highly appropriate that I got a glimpse of the Red Devils’ home from a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a 500ft wing-waggling flypast at the city’s airport this week.
This revolutionary new “greener”, “jet lag-busting” passenger plane is seen as the greatest advance in aviation since Concorde and this week was on the UK leg of a world tour, which took in Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports.
I joined the Boeing crew and a team from Thomson Airways – which will be the first in Britain to take delivery of a 787 – at Manchester for a plane tour and two-hour test flight.
It’s a very fine looking jet with elegant, sweeping lines and distinctive flexible wings which rise up to 10ft at the tips on take-off, though it’s perhaps not as awesome close up as the mighty Airbus A380 double decker superjumbo.
But it’s inside that’s going to impress Thomson and First Choice passengers from May 2013 – swiftly followed by fliers travelling with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Holidaymakers heading from Manchester, Gatwick, East Midlands and Glasgow to Cancun, Mexico, and Sanford, Florida, on Thomson Airways will have the first opportunity to fly on the new jets.
It will offer travellers noticeable improvements, including:
● Moister air for less chance of dehydration and headaches;
● Cleaner air that’s had irritants such as perfume and alcohol removed;
● Lower cabin pressure, which is less tiring;
● Bigger windows and dynamic LED lighting;
● Wider aisles and higher ceilings; and
● A smoother, quieter journey.
While you can hardly avoid your body being say five times zones adrift from UK time if you’re in Florida, these are all factors which should combine to help to alleviate the effects of jetlag when you get off the plane.
The Dreamliner is made largely of carbon/polymer resin and consequently is lighter than similar sized aircraft and uses 20% less fuel, hence its “green” tag.
It also offers a tremendous range, up to 9,400 miles, which brings the realistic and tantalising prospect of direct flights to destinations such as Bali, Hawaii and even Perth.
You read that right – Australia in one go. Amazing.