Air Canada calls the arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner a new era and a redefinition of who they are. Apparently the airplane’s set to change the flight experience, which comes after a three-year delay in deliveries after problems in production. So far, it looks worth the wait. With features that make the aircraft indeed a little dreamier than the flight we just got off of, it could maybe even make commercial airplane experiences enjoyable. Maybe.
Perks include quieter engines, anti-jetlag technology, a more spacious cabin, larger windows, bigger overhead bins (thank God!) and a quieter and smoother flight, making catching a mid-flight nap easier for light sleepers without having to rely on a mini bottle of red wine.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner offers three cabin classes – business, premium economy and economy. The lie-flat seats in the business class section of the redesigned seating and cabin area almost look more comfortable than our bed at home. Other new highlights include adjustable headrests in the Premium Economy class. With features like that, you can get in more sweet dreams (or, in our case, nightmares that the plane is crashing with each turbulence).
Compared to the 300 to 450 seats on a Boeing 777, the Dreamliner’s 251 seats are a bonus for the airline when it comes to routes where it may be harder to fill. Made of composite materials, the plane has a much longer range, but burns 20 per cent less fuel than the 767 it is to replace, making it more cost-effective for the airline as well. A longer range would also allow the airline to fly to destinations farther away, increasing its international capabilities. With the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Air Canada will open up new direct routes across the Pacific and Atlantic and possibly restart service to India.
The airline’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner completed its inaugural flight on Sunday, landing at Toronto’s Pearson airport from Seattle. On board was CEO Calin Rovinescu along with 100 employees, 50 of whom won a contest for a seat on the maiden flight. Air Canada’s first new route with the 787 Dreamliner will be a new Toronto to Tokyo-Haneda journey in July (an airport that is closer to the downtown core than Tokyo’s Narita airport), and the first existing route to be converted to 787 Dreamliner operation will be Toronto to Tel Aviv, also scheduled for Summer 2014. Later this year, the airline also plans to convert two routes to 787s, Vancouver to Tokyo’s Narita and Vancouver to Shanghai, and additional deployment routes will be announced at a later date. Air Canada has ordered 37 of the new passenger jets, six of which it will have by the end of the year.
In the meantime, pilots will fly the first 787 on training flights this week between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal’s Mirabel airport. If you’re one of the lucky on board, it will fly commercial flights between Toronto and Halifax on Friday, then to Zurich on Sunday.
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