Most of my flights are taken on boring Boeing 737 models, often on Southwest Airlines. However, this year, I may take a 737 only a couple of times. Returning from The Bahamas to the Middle East, I took a Royal Jordanian flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Queen Alia International Airport (AMM).
The Boeing 787 is better known as the Dreamliner, so when I saw what metal I was flying on, it did not even occur to me that I would be trying this special new plane until I took my first step on it. The section where passengers first step is a striking dark brown hardwood, which immediately attracts one’s attention. Royal Jordanian is also the first Middle Eastern carrier I have used. It first received delivery of its five Dreamliners in August 2014. While I veered right into the coach cabin, I took a long glance left at the luxurious first-class area, as I am scheduled to fly on a Dreamliner first-class flight in the near future. I can’t wait!
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is better than every plane of its size in every way. Each one costs more than $215 million. The technology is the newest. The windows are the largest I have seen. The cabin pressure better simulates normal breathing conditions. The noise is much lower. Overall space, headroom, and legroom are much greater. The overhead bins contain more space despite being less intrusive. I realize that I am in the minority in checking aircraft models when booking flights, but it is worth trying to fly on the 787 in addition to aiming for the usual parameters of price and schedule.
On January 4, I flew from Israel to Philadelphia, covering 5758 miles in 13 hours and 21 minutes on an Airbus A330-200. My flight back to the Middle East was nearly the same distance at 5725 but in only 9 hours and 46 minutes! While up to two hours of the 3:35 difference might have been due to headwinds, the Dreamliner is faster and more fuel-efficient than any commercial jet on the market.
The windows were massive and did not have physical shades. Instead, there was a five-level dimmer that was snazzy. The overhead lights were accurate LEDs. Humidity was as good as you will find on a commercial airplane. The food was average, but I did appreciate the metal flatware. A plastic knife is one of the least useful inventions of mankind. As usual, I checked the flight status on a live map, and I knew I was on a carrier of a Muslim country when I noticed one of the statistics was the mileage to Mecca.
The 10.6-inch touchscreen is the biggest I have used on an airplane. I could imagine some carriers simply installing iPads into the headrests. The touch-aspect of the screen was sensitive and accurate. I don’t like it when you touch one space, but the screen registers a press an inch away. The movie selection was lacking, although it offered Winter Sleep, the Turkish winner of the Palme d’Or.