I’ve had the pleasure of flying to Orlando Sanford Airport on six different occasions now, but I’ve never had the dubious pleasure of flying on the Boeing Dreamliner from Thomson. I say ‘dubious’ because all I had seen during the six months before my flight were reports of technical issues, and I was already a nervous flyer. So when I first stepped aboard Boeing‘s 787, I experienced a combination of sheer terror and abject excitement.
Departing from Manchester, my inaugural trip in the much-maligned aircraft was relaxing and enjoyable. Shortly after take-off, my trembling hands were soothed by the icy chill of a cool beer. And my churning stomach was somewhat distracted by the sausage-like substance I was presented with for lunch. However, it wasn’t long before the true nature of the beast became apparent.
A Stunning Cure for Jetlag
Now, when I usually arrive in Orlando, my head feels like an Ashes cricket ball just before the change, but I was astonished to discover that my usual jet lag was completely non-existent. I’m not sure if it was down to the Dreamliner’s ‘trip out’ mood lighting, the increased levels of oxygen the Dreamliner chucks out or the dimming windows, but there was an extra spring in my step when I headed off to the Alamo car rental office.
This aircraft has been lauded as revolutionary. At a cost of $195 million, it represents a pretty hefty commitment for even the largest of the world’s airline (BA flights on the Dreamliner are still relatively rare), but increased fuel efficiency is destined to make this the aircraft of the 21st century.
But enough with the tree-hugging, happy clappy stuff. Let’s get down to brass tacks here: flying on the Thomson Dreamliner is an adventure. In fact, it’s a part of the holiday experience. Not only was I treated to a much quieter cabin than that offered by any aircraft currently in the skies, I had a glorious seat pitch of 34 inches to play with – what joy! I’m a big lad, so every extra millimetre makes a huge difference to my aching limbs.
After playing around with my dimming window for a few intense minutes, I settled back into the flight surrounded by disco lights and oxygen. The extra large entertainment screen before me spewed out episodes of Fawlty Towers, and I luxuriated by sipping wine and nibbling on nuts (the ready salted variety). Of course, you might think that a supply of oxygen on a flight should come as standard, but the Dreamliner offers extra oxygen – which I’m pretty sure is a good thing.
A Myriad of Exciting New Features
To be honest, the list of impressive features on the 787 is just too extensive to write about in the 30 minutes I have allotted to the writing of this post. However, more headroom, wider aisles, moister air (I’m told that’s a good thing), quieter engines, bigger seats, better lighting and higher cruising altitudes for decreased turbulence just about says it all.
Of course, there are now several airlines operating the Dreamliner, so what makes Thomson so special? Well, I haven’t got a clue, as I’ve never flown on the Dreamliner with any other carrier. However, The flight attendants were smiley and happy (unlike those on a certain European carrier I couldn’t possibly mention, although the name begins with an ‘L’ and ends in ‘ufthansa’), and the food was average. But isn’t all food served at 42,000 feet average at best?
I always find that the cheapest flights to Florida fly into Sanford, so a 45-minute drive to Orlando and the Mecca that is Walt Disney World is the price to pay for a little extra spending money. But if you’re going to book flights that are truly part of the holiday experience, you can’t go too far wrong with Thomson.