Friday, July 08, 2016

Flying to Japan - via Jetstar Dreamliner

One great thing about living in Brisbane is the frequent cheap airfares on sale for Japan (assuming you want to holiday there - and you should)  via Jetstar from the Gold Coast.  

This recent trip, the first one I've been on for 6 years was on a new-ish plane - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  

First observation:  I had forgotten about how this plane was made with really flexible carbon fibre wings, so I was surprised to see how high they flex upwards just in normal cruising, level flight:

OK, so it's hard to give the correct impression from photographing it, but that is a "level" shot out of the window, and believe me, the tip of that wing is riding high.  

As for the interior:   I thought the seats were nice (we're talking economy, by the way), with the flexible headrest part (with "wings" you can tilt up to form a bit of a cradle while trying to sleep) a particularly nice feature.  Even the legroom seems quite adequate to me, and overhead lockers were large.  The "mood lighting", which I remember reading about when it was being built, is nice enough, but not all that noticeable.   The windows with the electronic frosting were large and good for someone (like me) who likes to spend a lot of time peering outside. 

But on the downside, and it is quite a downside:  who on earth designed the toilets?  Is the lid which will not sit back properly a deliberate thing to stop attempts at squatting on the toilet seat (there was a "no squatting"  diagram on the wall, so I assume this can be an issue).   Why is how to flush the toilet not made more obvious?    Why did the toilet on the trip over flush unexpectedly all the time?   Has any other airliner every had twin toilets with such a lightweight wall between the two stalls?    

The stalls themselves are really noticeably small, and on the daytime flight over, I also doubted the aircraft had been designed with enough of them.  (Yes, I know, line up for toilets can be common on all long haul flights on any aircraft, but these ones were really overused.)   The overnight flight back was much better in that regard, though.

As for Jetstar service:  well, they are a pretty "no nonsense" sort of airline, so you don't expect to get a lot of attention from cabin staff.   I thought they were OK overall.   (They could afford to get a bit of a better look with their uniforms, though, surely - especially with the men wearing pretty much just a polo shirt.)  

So the Dreamliner:   a good aircraft, marred (at least in Jetstar's case) by terrible toilet arrangements.

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