I’ve heard the hype, read the raving reviews and seen the pictures, but today I’m finally jumping onboard the Dreamliner. We are flying Club class to Seoul with British Airways, courtesy of our companion vouchers. So is this plane really as dreamy as it is made out to be?
On first sight, it looks way too small for our eleven hour journey to Seoul. A 747 would look like a giant beside this baby! Inside it’s much more compact than a 747 and the Club class configuration differs from our prior experience. It is a 2-3-2 configuration and not a 2-4-2 configuration with the usual British Airways Club seats facing your neighbouring passenger. There will be no cosy cuddles with your significant other on this plane!
Because of the smaller size, it also means there is only one entry doorway so even if you are flying Club, you will be queuing behind everyone else if you delay embarkation.
Club World cabins
The Club cabin is split in two with 21 seats in the forward cabin, immediately behind the cockpit, and a further 14 in the cabin behind the second galley. My middle seat feels a little more spacious, with more places to settle my wine or water than the usual 2-4-2 configuration. It is also nice and private, making it ideal for solo travellers. The downside, of course, is that I have to clamber over the feet of my neighbours whenever I wish to get out.
As it turns out, this is frequently, as British Airways didn’t allocate us seats together and the cabin is virtually full on our outward leg. Our hostess tries valiantly to find us a home together but with no joy. I find it a nuisance having to wander between the two cabins but if we weren’t separated, I would probably find the smaller cabin size a bonus as it is less busy.
Service is exceptional with our hostess either being incredibly attentive, certainly beyond the call of duty, or she feels sorry for me. Either way, I’m grateful as despite travelling the world solo on many occasions, I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to start our trip off together.
Our return leg
On our return leg, we have the same issue with online check in allowing me to check in but not Jason.
Thankfully however, we manage to get two seats together by the window in the rear cabin. There’s slightly less storage but I get the chance to appreciate the intelligent glass which darkens at the touch of a button. No blinds to raise and lower for your flight on this plane and incredibly effective. I find myself wanting to raise and dim the windows just to watch the effect, as the cabin transforms from day to night in seconds.
I also really start to appreciate the benefit of the split cabin making for less background noise, and not a screaming baby in sight. Sorry parents, I know your children are delightful but I would prefer not to be holed up in a plane with them for 12 hours!
Of course, an important consideration on such long flights is the position of the toilets. There is one toilet for the front cabin just to the left of the cockpit and another at the rear on the right. This could mean some serious congestion should multiple passengers simultaneously feel the need.
Economy and World Traveller Plus
World traveller seats 25 in a 2-3-2 layouts, whilst economy class accommodates 154 passengers in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Both classes have access to 6 toilets in the middle and two at the rear.
I’ve heard a lot about the lighting and how it is supposed to help with jet lag. On departure, we have a lovely amber glow edging the storage cabins and although we leave London early afternoon, due to the nine-hour time difference, we travel through the night. The lighting subtly changes colour throughout the flight, and later becomes a deep blue but I find the cabin quite bright and am thankful I have my eye mask.
On our return leg, we depart at 10.55am and arrive back in London the same day. This time, the lighting is barely discernible on departure. Later, it switches to a pale white glow then a subtle pink before melting into blue. Sitting in an aisle seat, I get the full effect and arrive feeling surprisingly refreshed with only a few hours sleep in the bag. I also get to appreciate views like this!
They say you don’t suffer with jet lag as badly when flying the Dreamliner. I really want to believe this is true but it seems such a grandiose claim to make. That said, when we were in the Philippines last November, it took me almost a week to adjust on the way out. I had days where I felt terrible, suffering with horrendous dizziness and sickness. I didn’t have a decent night’s sleep until I’d been there a week.
This trip, after two nights of interrupted sleep, where I still manage between four and seven hours, I settle into a pattern of long sleeps. Awesome! Is it because of the Dreamliner, the flat-bed or something else. Who knows?!
On my first night following our return to the UK, I am writing blog posts at 4am, doing all our clothes washing and food shopping. The following night, I manage to make it through the night and it starts to feel like normalcy is returning. I am still not convinced that this is as a result of the Dreamliner design, but maybe those who have frequently flown on the Dreamliner can share their experience.
There are two galleys in Club and both are pretty spacious. The front galley seems less busy once meal service is over and is a great place to stretch your legs. In the rear galley, you can help yourself to snacks and drinks, or have a chat with fellow passengers should you feel the urge.
I have pre-ordered a low-fat meal, which always seems like such a good idea at the time but onboard I lust over the menu selections. Just look at these options on our outbound and inbound journeys.
On the return leg, I indulge in a potato and celeriac cake for starter followed by another fish and spinach with vegetables.
Here’s some of the full fat dessert options on this Dreamliner flight. Who doesn’t love a good cheeseboard? If savoury is not your thing, you can always opt for the sweet cheese variety! Yummy….
What do you think?
Have you flown on the Dreamliner. If so, what do you think? Is one airline’s Dreamliner better than another? Be sure to let us know as we love to hear from you.