The Boeing 787 Dreamliners are the most technologically advanced aircraft in British Airways’ fleet and are designed to boost wellbeing and offer the best possible customer experience.
With a total of 42 787s destined to join British Airways, the aircraft is to become the mainstay of the airline's fleet.
The airline's 787-8 Dreamliners, first started to join the fleet in summer 2013, complete with three cabins – Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy).
The first of the airline’s 787-9s arrived at the end of September 2015 and, as it is 20ft longer that its 787-8 predecessor, it is able to accommodate a First cabin in addition to Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.
In both aircraft types, an integrated LED mood lighting system reflects daylight and night time brightness and helps customers’ bodies adjust to different time-zones. It offers a smoother ride, with built in sensors countering the effects of turbulence, reducing nausea for those customers who suffer from motion sickness. With lower cabin air pressure than traditional aircraft, customers will notice an increased amount of oxygen and moisture in the cabin air, helping to reduce the effects of jet-lag and dry eyes.
The Boeing 787 has the largest windows of any commercial airliner. The increase in size allows a greater number of customers to take in some of the amazing views that can be seen in flight, not just the person sitting nearest the window. Instead of pull down blinds, each window has its own dimmer switch to alter the amount of light coming into the cabin.
British Airways’ 787 is fitted with the latest Thales entertainment system. Every seat features a widescreen television. Customers can choose audio and video on demand, including TV boxsets and audio programmes. They can speak to friends elsewhere on the aircraft using an in-seat chat system and even connect their own devices to the entertainment system.
Even the aircraft’s bathrooms are more advanced. After a lavatory is flushed, the seat automatically closes.
The 787 has impressive environmental credentials. It can fly for almost 10,000 miles without refuelling – further than the Boeing 777 or 747 aircraft, and uses 20 per cent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft. This means a reduction in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. Lightweight materials make up 50 per cent of the primary structure of the 787, including the fuselage and wing. The aircraft’s advanced monitoring systems allow it to report system maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems during flight, instantly alerting engineers to any adjustments necessary to improve efficiency.
The Dreamliner has a much smaller sound footprint than its predecessors - 60 per cent smaller than similar sized aircraft and no sound of more than 85 decibels - about the level of loud traffic heard from the side of the road leaves the airport boundaries.
The 787-8 features 214 seats across three cabins. The Club World cabin seats 35 business class customers. The cabin features a new triple seat configuration with one middle seat rather than two, to offer more privacy, with the rear-facing seat featuring an additional stowage drawer. All of the Club World seats feature a bright reading light and simple-to-use footstools.
There are 25 seats in the aircraft’s World Traveller Plus cabin, and 154 in World Traveller.
British Airways’ 787-8 Dreamliners fly to Austin, Calgary, Chengdu, Chennai, Hyderabad, New York, Philadelphia and Toronto.
The 787-9s have 216 seats: eight in First, 42 in Club World, 39 in World Traveller Plus and 127 in World Traveller.
The main difference between British Airways’ 787-8s and the -9s is the inclusion of the First cabin with just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats available on the airline’s other long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers.
Created specifically for the Boeing 787-9, the new First suites have been painstakingly designed based on feedback from First customers, to put comfort at the heart of the experience and make the very best use of the more intimate space.
The suites include four new storage areas. A new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool has enough room for shoes, handbags and personal items, while the personal suiter for jackets and coats is accessible without the customer having to move from their seat.
A new locker positioned at eye-level is perfect for smaller personal effects such as tablets, spectacles, passport and wash-bags. A handy mirror has also been fitted to the inside of the locker door for personal grooming.
Customers who need to charge any devices can now do so in a discreet stowage area next to their armrest.
Great attention to detail has also been paid to how the customer uses their suite, with each function being controlled by simple, intuitive touch.
The seat and in-flight entertainment console has been updated with a new handset, much like a smartphone, integrated into the seat from which travellers can control their in-flight entertainment. During flight, the handset can be docked so that customers are also able to watch one item, such as the moving map, on the handset and another, such as a film, on the 23inch fixed screen. This also means travellers will be able to enjoy gate-to-gate entertainment, without having to stow their television for take-off and landing
The smart 'jog-dial', that previously controlled the seat's recline, now manages five additional functions including the headrest and lumbar inflate and a 'global' lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.
The new First cabin on the Boeing 787-9 was developed by Forpeople, London, working together with the airline’s in-house teams and leading British suppliers, including Prototrim, which developed the high quality soft leather and fabric trim within the suite, and London-based Pritchard Themis who worked on the suite and cabin lighting.
The bespoke lighting in every cabin can be set to reflect the time of day, helping to lull travellers to sleep at night and to wake them in the morning. Customers can also enjoy much larger windows, offering views of the horizon from every seat. These collective features mean that travellers arrive feeling fresher and the effect of jet-lag is lessened.
The Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins will be in line with the rest of the airline’s most modern aircraft.