Through the website of Jetairfly, I booked a one way ticket
to Alicante on Sunday, 8th of December. Reason: a flight with the brand new
Dreamliner B787-8 (OO-JDL “Diamond”) of Jetairfly. The return flight was
booked at Brussels Airlines.
On Saturday, 14th of December, at about 4AM, me and my companions go to the
check-in desk of Jetairfly. I booked reserved seats for €5 per person: seats
15A-15B-15C. Ideal spots to have a nice view of the engine and wing.
Security at this time of day is very quick, and about 20 before departure we
can board. The reception by the purser and the rest of the cabin crew is
very warm and welcoming. The first thing we notice about the plane are the
enormous space and bigger overhead compartments. I take my seat at 15A by
the window, which also are 30% bigger than other aircraft’s windows. The
airplane, which can seat 300 persons in three classes (Economy, Economy+ and
Premium Club), is only filled a third. At 6AM sharp, the Dreamliner is
pushed back, and less than 10 minutes later we’re flying above Brussels. The
very smooth sensation of the Dreamliner is very noticeable: you barely feel
the takeoff, and the silence of the engines also stands out!
I take my time to give the “in-flight entertainment system” a run for its
money. While checking the flight trajectory, it mentions our altitude:
almost 12 500 meters (41,000 feet). Apart from this feature, I can easily
say that the system contains everything to be expected from a modern IFE.
After half an hour, the cabin crew invites us to take a seat in the premium
part, in the front of the aircraft. The fact that I, while entering the
Dreamliner, informed the crew that we flew to Alicante especially to fly in
the new Boeing, and requested to take some pictures of the cockpit after the
flight, obviously had a positive effect.
After breakfast I stroll around the plane and take some pictures of the
different classes aboard. I walk to the front of the plane, where the crew
is preparing the catering. After a nice chat with 2 of them, I get an
invitation to the cockpit. While entering I notice that the jumpseats are
occupied as well. Aside from the 3 pilots, there was also an instructor from
Tec4Jets aboard. Once again I get a warm welcome from the crew. The first
thing that stands out, are the 4 big central displays and a completely
paperless cockpit. When I asked them if they like the plane, the captain
immediately answers that he’s falling in love with it, which doesn’t leave
much room for interpretation! It’s also clear that the earlier problems of
the plane are all solved. After a week of operations, no problems haven’t
risen yet! I take some last pictures and return to my luxurious Premium
seat, to prepare for the landing at Alicante. The sun is slowly coming up,
and the crew is playing with the “moodlight”, which is a high tech lighting
system that simulates sunrise and sundown. Outside daylight has broken
through, which gives me the opportunity to test the window blinds, at the
push of a button. You read correctly, the classical sunblind has been
changed as well!
Exactly on time we land at El Altet, the official name of Alicante Airport.
As the airplane doesn’t stop at a terminal, but on the tarmac, we can take
some last pictures while going down conventional stairs. A funny fact:
everybody was taking pictures at that time. During the short shuttle ride I
hear a lot of people talking enthusiastically about the plane.
From the end of December, the plane will be flown to Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, Jamaica and Mexico. When flying to these destinations, 2 other
advantages of the Dreamliner will become clear for the passengers: the lower
cabin pressure, and higher air moisture.
I’m not a big fan of warm, exotic destinations, but being able to fly the
B787 for that long might still convince me. One thing is certain: this
plane has really introduced “a new way of flying”, despite the problems
during the first months after the launch. Add to this the wonderful service
and the very kind cabin crew, and you have all the reasons why this was one
of the finest flying experiences I ever had! Thanks Jetairfly for the “Dreamflight”.
The return flight with Brussels Airlines was with an A319 with registration
00-SSQ. Aside from some turbulence above the north of Spain, the flight was
without incidents. The service and kindness of the crew was good, but not as
terrific as Jetairfly’s. Or was it because I wasn’t flying in the Dreamliner