I had the good fortune of flying one of the first commercial flights on the only Boeing 787-10 currently in service.
Best of all, it was to experience the new regional Business Class product from Singapore Airlines which was launched less than a week ago. (I will talk more about the new Economy Class product in my next review).
So here goes, welcome onboard the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner: SQ970
Scheduled (Actual) departure: 0710hrs (0727hrs) UTC+8
Scheduled (Actual) arrival: 0835hrs (0812hrs) UTC+7
Total distance: 1431kmBoeing 787-10
MSN: 60253, Line number: 656
Delivered new on 28 March 2018
Charlie-Alpha was parked at gate F31 in Changi Terminal 2. Even in the pre-dawn hours, the Dreamliner looks splendid at the gate, don’t you think? I think the Dash 10’s length is about right for the Dreamliner. I am still amazed that considering it to be almost as long as the Boeing 777-200s, it only has four-wheel bogies for the main landing gear. The “dash 10” is Boeing’s largest variant yet of its new-age “Dreamliner”.
J-class load factor was 50% with 18 passengers in the pointy end of the Dreamliner.
The aircraft sits 337 passengers - 36 in J and 301 in Y class.
Most of the passengers were probably unaware of travelling on a new aircraft type. But it was buzzing with activity onboard. After being welcomed and shown my seat, I chatted with the cabin crew and found out today’s B78X flight was the first for all crew members. So I guess it wasn’t just me but everyone was really excited today. The crew was excited to show me the different features of the cabin.
I had a glimpse of the high-tech cockpit from the door. But no pictures allowed. Sorry! I have seen the cockpit upclose in the preserved Boeing 787-8 in Seattle’s Museum of Flight, but to see the real cockpit is just amazing. No more Boeing brown though as its all grey and black. I didn’t remember seeing any HUDs in the cockpit though. In any case, that must be the best two seats in the house.
We had two captains flying today with an additional pair of captains as observers. I counted about 6 cabin crew in J-class. That’s a whopping ratio of 1 cabin crew to every 3 passengers today. The Airline was really putting as many crew on these early training flights before its official launch!
We pushbacked at 0727hrs. The sun was just over the horizon and the cabin was bathed in the orangey pink warmth.
With clearance to taxi, the two Rolls Royce Trent 1000 started up and we began to make our way to runway 20C. Traffic was light so there was no delay in taking off. The engines at takeoff thrust were spritely but quiet as we accelerated toward V1 and rotated off the runway. I have to say, it is huge difference from the B77W’s GE90s! You could really feel and hear the power. The Dreamliner is more like the A350s and A380s - refined and quieter. The load must have been light today not only because the rotation point was way before the midpoint of the 3.26km runway, but also I didn’t really see a pronounced flex from the wingtips. With gears retracted, we banked left and headed up into the clouds.
Unaware to me was my good friend, Kok Chwee and fellow air-spotter Andrew Hunt, had a shot of Charlie Alpha taking off that very moment. It was a first time for them seeing the B78X takeoff in an actual commercial flight.
As much as an aviation geek, this was my first time flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. One noticeable difference was the size of the windows because they are BIG! I remembered watching documentaries that said that this was a result of passenger feedback. The Dreamliner is a plane that was designed not just for economic efficiency but also what passengers want in a flight. I am glad the focus groups got the windows part right.
The Dreamliner’s well-appointed cabin feels bright and airy because of the windows on Dreamliners are 30% bigger and a higher cabin pressure and humidity. They do take some time to fully dimmed/illuminated when you fiddle with the button. But no window shade does make this feel quite high-tech.
The Boeing Sky Interior does give the whole cabin a very nice feel. Just take a look at the beautiful cabin. I swear it still had the new airplane smell!
Now onto the new seats. At 26 inches wide with the armrests lowered, it really feels like a private and comfortable pod. You will love it whether you intend to work or relax onboard. Singapore Airlines says the business-class seats have been padded with “Alcantara”, which the carrier describes as “the same material used to fit the interiors of luxury sports cars and yachts.”
It is really light years ahead of any other regional J class on the market. There is many user-friendly features and storage space for passengers. The tray table is a really sturdy one compared to the older ones. It was also easier to set up without you trying to get it unjammed from the compartment. An electrical plug and two high-speed USB ports are within easy reach to charge your high-powered devices. Inflight wifi is available from Panasonic's Global Communication Services.
With a 1-2-1 seat layout, you get direct aisle access no matter which seat you pick. No more 2-2-2 layout from the existing regional J class product.
For the first time on regional J class, the seat reclines into a fully flat bed that is 76 inches long.
It is really quite an experience to lie fully flat and look up to the ceiling in an airplane. Add that to the Krisworld entertainment system on a 18 inch HD touchscreen monitors (which you can sync using the SingaporeAir app on your mobile), a pair of noise cancelling headphones, great cabin service and menu from Book-the-cook service, you are pretty much in flying heaven. Yes, even on short haul, you get the full service. Untitled
Window seats alternate between window- and aisle-facing — so pick carefully if you really want the window beside you. Rows 12, 15, 17 and 19 are good if you want that little more privacy. Skip row 16 if you want a window, because its windowless due to the fuselage / wiring joints. 2018-04-07 at 09-33-41
Unlike the SQ new, new-old and old long-haul business-class product (oh my, they have 4 in operation right now!) which still has a cubby hole that is challenging for taller passengers, the 787-10 now offer larger footwells, so you won’t need to sleep at an angle.
Seat recline and controls are all controlled by touch sensitive buttons beside you. So you don’t have to get up, manually flip the seat into the bed like the old seats.
As the aircraft is designed for short haul missions / regional hops, you don’t get the duvet mattress. And seasoned SQ travelers will also notice the overhead lockers are there unlike the long haul J class. So you might think it has a lower ceiling. Yeah, I know, first world problems.
The rest of the flight was uneventful, with the aircraft smoothly flying over peninsular Malaysia, the Gulf of Thailand and into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. We topped out at FL400 but it was still cloudy with the milky sky as a companion the entire journey. We were met with light rain during the descent and the pilots just greased it during landing - smooth and light as a feather.
We landed on runway 01R and taxiied to gate D5 and parked at 0812hrs in the wet morning.
It was such a great experience and I am pretty sure you will really enjoy it too.
With 2 B78Xs in service (as of 12 April 2018) used on selected flights for crew familiarisation and training purposes. The Dreamliner will see its official launch to Osaka and Perth in May 2018. In any case, 49 aircraft are coming online in the next few years so you don’t really have to hurry as they will be going to be readily available as a standard.
Thanks for reading my report! I hope you enjoyed it.
Look out for my next one where I go from the first row in Business to the last row in the new economy class. In short, Singapore Airlines’ Dreamliner is really quite a nice ride.
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