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A Dream Ticket

Thomson’s 787 Dreamliner took to the skies on its inaugural passenger flight, and I was lucky enough to snag a ticket…

There aren’t many times when you can claim to have been the first at something. Especially since there’s bound to be someone out there who’s been there, done that. So when I received an invitation to be on the very first flight of Thomson’s 787 Dreamliner, there were actual squeals involved. I mean, it’s a historical moment… something to tell the grandkids one day (certainly beats the story of when I was North Herts’ back-stroke champion, which clearly no-one gives two hoots about). Are you sitting comfortably? Then here’s a sneak peek at my day on the Dreamliner…

 
We arrived at Manchester Airport to quite a welcome – film crew and everything. The coach ride up from Thomson HQ in Luton started at 6am (don’t feel too sorry for us, it was Arsenal’s mega-plush team bus), and I had an unfortunate imprint on my face from my 3-hour snooze, so suffice to say I scuttled out of the way whenever the cameras panned round. Thankfully other colleagues were happy to step in…

 
Sadly the weather in Manchester had no sense of occasion, and my first glimpse of our new super-plane was through a rain-splattered window. Not to be deterred by a bit of drizzle, the Dreamliner and its tail still managed a big smile. And we all followed suit. What can we say, we’re British.


 
Our mood was further boosted by this hearty spread…


 
Champagne at 10.30am. Well, you know what they say, somewhere in the world it’s cocktail hour.

Finally it was time to board. Fuelled by fizz and canapés – and the fact the rain had conceded – we were giddy with excitement stepping on to the newest addition to our fleet…


 
Once aboard ‘Living the Dream’ it was clear this was no ordinary plane. My photos truly don’t do it justice, as it felt so much roomier than any plane I’ve been on before. It was quite simply immense. Even at its lowest point it’s a mammoth 6-foot high. As for legroom, you’re swimming in the stuff… 33 or 34 inches in Economy Club and 38 inches in Premium Club (which is more than any other major UK airline, just FYI). More than enough to kick back and relax on route to your hols. And those leather seats were bliss…


 
Thankfully I fought the urge to nod off again, as I realised that a very special VIP was in the vicinity…


 
That’s right, it’s our all-round sound hound, Thomson the Dog.

I think he was pretty excited to see himself on the telly – he’s down-to-earth like that. And very well-trained. The crew only had to say “Sit” once…


 
We got a lovely welcome on our screens as we prepared for lift-off…


 
And after the quietest take-off ever – the Dreamliner makes 60 per cent less noise than standard planes during take-off, landing and in the air – we were off on a whistle-stop tour of the UK, up to Glasgow, down to Southampton, then back up to Gatwick. So jet-set.

For those sitting next to the windows (which are 30 per cent bigger than those on an average aeroplane), they had extra entertainment to play with – dimming their windows at the touch of a button. Blinds are so last season. With this new super-smart technology you can concentrate on the latest blockbuster without missing out on the sky-high view. Such a genius idea.

Next up, my favourite part. The light show. The Dreamliner features a high-spec mood lighting system that can mimic things like dawn and dusk, which helps get your body in tune with wherever you’re heading. To show off the whole spectrum of colours, we were treated to this…


 
Could your last plane do that? Nope. Didn’t think so.

After all that frivolity, it was time to sit back, relax and check out the inflight entertainment. So, I went for a spot of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, an episode of my absolute favourite, Modern Family, and a play of Emeli Sandé’s album…


 
There was also a ton of the latest movies to choose from, so I opted for Silver Linings Playbook on the flight back up to Manchester. Amazing film. And how could I forget the food? I sampled Tapas (pictured) and Afternoon Tea boxes. Both delicious. Sadly, my fellow passengers either side thought the same, otherwise I would have happily finished theirs off too.


 
All too soon it was time to land in Manchester, after our short but sweet sojourn in the skies. Everyone, including me, was buzzing from the once-in-a-lifetime experience, and vowing to be back on board soon. Although, next time I get the feeling our destinations will include the likes of Mexico, Florida and Thailand, rather than dear old London Gatwick. Just a hunch.


 
We’d love to know, are you planning a trip on the Thomson 787 Dreamliner soon?

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