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My First Time on a Boeing 787: A Dreamliner Virgin Flies Jetstar

Where: Australia
November 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM | by | Comment (1)

Last week we brought you the inaugural of Jetstar's newest little toy, a shiny Boeing 787 Dreamliner. As the first 787 in Australia, the plane is affording a new batch of travelers their first taste of modern aviation innovation, and our Aussie contributor is one such flyer. Here, he shares his impressions of a first flight on the Dreamliner:

As soon as Jetstar announced their newest bird would be flying from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, I jumped online and purchased tickets, psyched to finally fly this state-of-the-art aircraft for myself, after watching what felt like every other continent get their chance. My base in Brisbane is an easy drive to the Gold Coast Airport, and I jump at any chance to visit Australia's culture capital of Melbourne, so the decision was an easy one.

Initially I thought that there was no way I'd get a seat onboard during its first week of flights, but then I headed to Jetstar's website and found a spot three days in. I got lucky with a late afternoon flight and a similarly convenient return, which left the ideal amount of time to head into Melbourne, grab some food, and relax before turning right around.

Since I'm a Qantas Frequent Flyer who never misses an opportunity to boost my mileage account balance, I opted for the upgrade from a basic fare to Max Bundle. The bundle not only accrues valuable mileage, but it allows for premium seat selection, a $5 in-flight service voucher for food or drink, and greater flexibility with itinerary changes. What started as a $75 one-way fare, became $295 with this upgrade option.

Capitalizing on the advance seat selection, I naturally went for what would normally be the business class cabin, but on this initial domestic service is considered economy. Seat 2A on the outbound and 1A on the return were all mine, along with the ability to play with the cool self-dimming windows to my heart's content.

Honestly, after the tumultuous launch of the 787, I wasn't really expecting too much. Once aboard the aircraft, however, I instantly noticed nicer lighting, increased cabin space, and huge overhead lockers. Aside from aesthetics, nothing much was different until we took off and I didn't spend the first 15 minutes attempting to regulate my ears with the pressurization, a problem I regularly face on every other aircraft. The [correction: higher| lower cabin pressurization of the 787 (to 6,000' instead of 8,000') made all the difference, and I could enjoy the flight without the annoyance of ear pain and without having to turn my in-flight entertainment volume to the max.

What's more is that I was also impressed with the pride and excitement of the Jetstar crew for their newest toy. This is a low-cost airline that nickels and dimes, so your standard Jetstar flight doesn't come with a side of smiles. The Boeing 787 changed all that, and my two regular flights were surprisingly upbeat, and I may have even shared some giggles with the flight attendants over the newer features.

Speaking of new features, stay tuned for tomorrow's full photo gallery of our Jetstar 787 flights!

[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]

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You mean higher air pressure, right?

"Aside from aesthetics, nothing much was different until we took off and I didn't spend the first 15 minutes attempting to regulate my ears with the pressurization, a problem I regularly face on every other aircraft. The lower cabin pressurization of the 787 (6,000' instead of 8,000') made all the difference,..." If lower air pressure helps your ears then you must be in agony at sea level 0'. The air pressure at sea level is higher than at 6000' and the air pressure at 6000' is higher than at 8000'. Your ear problem is not from high pressure but from low pressure and not being able to equalize that. You really should see a doctor about that if you haven't already.

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