The Jumbo Jumbos – A New Generation of Giant Aircraft
In December 2009, Boeing announced the release of their US-made 787 Dreamliner model. This model is one of the largest incarnations of the passenger aircraft on the market today and with Thomson recently launching their own Dreamliner flying from the UK, it won’t be long before the US market takes advantage.
In fact, one US airline and several international brands across the world have already placed their orders for the Dreamliner craft. However, for those of us just looking for cheap holidays – or simply like to know of the practical implications – what does the new 787 mean for the average passenger and our annual vacation?
The first thing to note about the new Boeings is their sheer size. The new Dreamliner can hold up to 330 passengers in a single plane. However, despite the large numbers aboard, the Dreamliner contains more space per passenger than smaller planes. The lowest point in the cabin is six feet high, and the average economy leg-room is 34 inches. So, even when seated, the average passenger will have more space than on other aircraft. In fact, because the windows are 30% bigger (and dim at the touch of a button) the average economy experience on a 787 will be close to a first-class experience on a smaller plane.
Although fuel efficiency is not something to usually get excited about on a plane, for those who are interested in their carbon footprint, the 787 Dreamliner is much a more sustainable option. Despite the fact that the aircraft is so much bigger than any other, it is made with composite materials, making it lighter, and therefore 20% more fuel efficient than any other plane on the market.
Not only is the Dreamliner good for the conscience, it is also good for your health. The change in size of the plane means there are different pressurisation requirements. The extra oxygen in the plane means that your body absorbs more, which, according to the UK Daily Mail’s Nigel Thompson, should leave passengers feeling more awake and refreshed when they land.
The fuel efficiency of the plane, combined with its extra-large fuel tank also means that it will be opening up new routes. The Dreamliner has a range of 8,000 miles, which is the equivalent of flying from New York to New Delhi. This increased range means that the Dreamliner will be able to fly direct to so many more locations. In addition, it is also one of the fastest planes around, meaning that flying 8,000 miles takes around three hours less than it would with a smaller aircraft.
With all of these advances opening up new routes, there is bound to be a knock on effect on the price of holidays. Where budget flights are now confined to short-haul, in the year 2020 it may be possible that you and your family will be able to take a short weekend break to Europe for the cost that you would usually fly domestically. It’s certainly worth watching this (air)space to find out.
Images by Max Boss and epSos.de (Flickr), used under Creative Commons license.
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Date: October 23rd, 2013 @ 10:00
Categories: Independent Travel