Carrier: AIR CANADA
Flight #: 849
Craft: Ooh, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner!
Route: LHR-YYZ, London Heathrow to Toronto Pearson
Three words to describe staff: Professional, easy-going, Canadian.
Seat spaciousness: Despite being in the dreaded middle seat of the middle seats, this nine-hour flight was actually not hideous, so the seats must have been reasonably roomy.
Seat comfort: 7.5 out of 10. Considering I’m giving this score for a middle seat, this is really like 300 out of 10. My only complaint was that I got a permanent crick in my shoulder from being forced to weld my right arm to the armrest in order to prevent the guy beside me from elbowing my entertainment system control panel emphatically at every hilarious point of whatever he was watching on-screen.
Edibles/drinkables: One dinner meal, one wee bottle of red wine and two cups of tea consumed. The chicken (in a creamy red pepper sauce, with salty broccoli and mashed potatoes) was actually very tasty! In fact, if I was served it in one of those mediocre Italian restaurants that my dad insists on frequenting, I’d be most quite delighted. It would be an exceedingly pleasant change from the desiccated chicken and industrial laundry dryer-blasted tomato concoctions they usually serve.
Age ambience of craft: Impressively new! The plane looked like someone had just whisked it out of its protective bubble wrap and gently popped it down at Gate B39 seconds before our flight. This was my first time on an infamous Dreamliner, which – on the basis of the DL’s, um, initial wee safety hiccups (aaargh, fire!) – I wasn’t quite as thrilled about as the cabin crew obviously were. But the staff seemed quite delighted with their good fortune and made much trumpeting about how lucky we were and how the vast plane was a plane-baby at just six months old. The lighting (soothing blues courtesy of the 787’s supposedly jet lag-reducing LED lighting) and crammed-with-options entertainment system were pleasingly modern. The taps in the toilets were fancier than any I encountered in Tokyo, famed home of high-tech toiletry. I’m sorry I didn’t have a window seat to try out the button-touch window blinds. Next time, Air Canada…
Fellow passengers: Rugby-thighed PhD guy on my left and bearded, retired husband guy on my right. PhD guy and myself watched Divergent and there was much hilarity as we compared how woeful we thought it was, although there was nowhere near as much high decibel guffawing as came from bearded guy while he watched seven billion episodes of something that, from my few peeks at it, must have been called British Upper Crust Dinner Table Buffoonery.
Things I enjoyed: The fancy taps. The food. PhD guy’s company and film reviews.
Things I did not enjoy: Not getting to play with the fancy high-tech window blinds. How much and how loudly my neighbour enjoyed his in-flight entertainment choices. A super fancy new plane with volume and light controls placed precisely where the person in the seat next to you will elbow them on, off, up, down or hurtle you into a terrifying, opera-blasting channel change just when you’re getting to the only gripping bit of some lacklustre dystopian teen vehicle.