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Not just a dream

New passenger-friendly airliner takes to the sky

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its test flight

It might not quite reach cloud nine but Boeing’s latest high flier promises to offer the long-suffering long-haul passenger an improved flying experience.

The aircraft manufacturer has used state-of-the-art technology in its innovative design. So confident is Boeing of achieving success that it has named its medium-sized plane the Dreamliner.

Jet lag relief

Boeing claims that the plane’s LED lighting system and large windows will lessen symptoms of jet lag. The lighting can simulate sunrise or sunset and the larger windows allow a greater view of the horizon, which may counter a feeling of disorientation and tiredness. The windows are three times the size of a normal aircraft window and can be dimmed to adjust the amount of light let in to the cabin.

Smoother, quieter flight

Other features include a sensory system to help minimise turbulence and an air filtration system that removes unpleasant odours and requires less exterior dry air to be drawn into the cabin. The quieter engines and efficient aerodynamics will cut down noise and higher cabin air pressure should reduce flight-related fatigue – airliners are usually pressurised to 8000ft; the 787 Dreamliner is pressured to 6000ft.

Reduced carbon footprint

Constructed from carbon-composites the plane will be lighter and more fuel efficient. It is estimated that the Dreamliner will use 20% less fuel than a conventionally built aircraft of a similar size, which means fewer refueling stopovers and the possibility of flying longer distances.

Airline companies are falling over themselves to add the 787 Dreamliner to their fleets. Among the British companies who have already put in their orders are British Airways, Thomson Airways and Virgin Airlines. The first UK flights are planned for 2012.

The 787 Dreamliner made its debut at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010 (it returned to the US on the 13 July).

Rochelle Turner from Which? Holiday says ‘this new aircraft appears to have designed out many of the frustrations that long-haul passengers face. We hope that these promises match up to the reality when flights start in 2012.’

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