SEATTLE - Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner has been flying people in and out of Sea-Tac Airport for exactly one week, and KIRO 7 Eyewitness News wanted to know if passengers thought the flying experience lived up to all the hype.
Report Gary Horcher got a ticket to Tokyo aboard the first Dreamliner flight out of Sea-Tac to find out.
Frequent fliers aboard the jet said they noticed immediate differences.
“It seems to be quiet, I thought definitely on the takeoff and it also didn’t have the typical shudder,” said business traveler James MacFarland.
“It sounds different though! Like when we’re taking off there were a lot of different noises that I don’t normally hear when we’re taking off in an airplane,” said passenger Dylan Hughes.
Horcher said that although you can hear noise, Boeing designed the Dreamliner to be quieter with less engine roar. The wings are structured for a smoother ride in choppy air.
On board, the larger size of the windows is glaringly obvious, drawing your eye to what's outside. They also dim to darkness with a touch of your finger.
“Most people realize they’re larger, but they’re also higher, they’re at eye level,” said passenger Jonathan Spira.
The high ceilings are illuminated with colored mood lighting that changes with the time of day.
Everything comes together to create a much more open environment, and that makes the passenger feel better,” said Spira.
After about four hours into the flight, one thing that seemed to be a proof of performance was that passengers like Horcher who suffer from ear pain and sinus problems because of pressure didn’t have any problems.
Passengers said they could really feel the difference.
“My ears have barely popped at all,” said Hughes.
Boeing designed the 787's cabin pressure to feel more like being on the ground. The air is more humid, filtered to be fresher and healthier.
“I feel more comfortable than I normally would. It could be the air and just the roominess of everything,” said Hughes.
ANA Airlines and Boeing designed spacious business class pods with room for working. Seats open 90 degrees flat for sleeping.
Economy seating is still spacious -- the seats are slightly wider -- and in the wide body plane there are two isles. But passengers noticed something about one of the biggest features -- the oversized overhead bins.
“Like your jacket, you kind of have to be more careful because it wouldn’t stay flat, it will fire into the back. So, I’m surprised they would miss that. You could actually hear my jacket slide to the back,” said McFarland.
Another feature about the Dreamliner is something Boeing engineers call the “Dream Lavatory.”
The door opens in on itself, revealing a larger bathroom than on a lot of other airplanes, complete with its own window. And it's hands-free, too. You wave your hand over the electric eye, and not only does it flush, it lowers the lid and sanitizes the bathroom for you.
Flying on ANA's Dreamliner costs about the same as flying on any other jet. Horcher found tickets to Tokyo for $1,600 round trip in economy.
After 10 hours and 18 minutes, passengers told Horcher the difference in comfort was dramatic.
“I think that this definitely raises the bar for what airplanes should be like, for what a flying experience should be like,” said Hughes.
ANA Airlines put fewer seats on the 787 to give people more room.
Seating on other airlines flying the Dreamliner could be completely different.