#Boeing787 - Jetstars Dreamliner - An Accidental Encounter
‘Jetstar International looking swift!’ I tap into Instagram. Now for the hashtags. I glance around looking for inspiration. Aside from the usual #jetstar #jq18 tags, my eye catches the in-flight safety card #boeing787. Posting… Done. I switch off my phone.
Pounding my fingers on the touch screen at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, I’m frustrated that I can’t check in. Sighing loudly, I wait in line impatiently for the service desk. My colleague has suffered the same fate.
“Your flight’s departing from the international terminal. You must check in there and show your Australian Drivers licenses to clear immigration both here and in Sydney.” Sounds annoying but simple enough, however there is a problem. My colleague is a US citizen. He doesn’t have an Australian licence. “Can I see your passport then sir?” The girl behind the desk receives blank stares in response. Passports on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney? My colleague is bumped onto a later flight as he will not be able to clear immigration. Not happy Jan.
I scuttle over to the International terminal, bags flapping and bouncing around as I dodge luggage trolleys and aimlessly roaming children.
I slide into my unusually comfortable and smooth charcoal leather seat. It looks new and the aircraft has the rich scent of new leather. Like cowboys and horses combined with that luxury new car smell. I glance across the aisle and notice all the seats are looking extremely well maintained. For a low cost carrier, this plane is looking quite swish.
The interior seems oddly brighter than usual. Are there windows in the ceiling allowing soft sunlight to peer in? Vibrant LED mood lighting trims underneath what appear to be befittingly larger overhead lockers. Splashes of Jetstar orange feature on the ends of arm rests and the knobs of tray tables which show no signs of grotty, sticky fingers.
I’m suitably impressed. Perhaps I should consider flying Jetstar internationally if this is what their aircraft are like.
I relax into my leather-bound seat and tap the oversized LCD touch-screen imbedded in the seat in front and am amazed to see the latest new release films, current TV series and more importantly – for free.
The first officers voice echos through the plane as he explains the windows on the aircraft will be ‘set to clear’ for take-off. What? I look at the abnormally oversized windows and notice there are no shades.
Curiosity has bitten me. I shuffle and fidget impatiently waiting for us to take off. I want the seat belt sign disabled so I can see what the deal is with these windows. But wait. We’ve already taken off?
Ultra silent and smooth, I hadn’t even heard let alone felt us rumble down the runway and shoot into the sky. ‘Bing.’ The seatbelt sign is off. I touch the window with the pad of my finger. It slightly dims. I touch it again. It dim’s again. I repeat this procedure continually until my window is a thick opaque. Am I having the worlds most advanced in flight experience? What is going on? This isn’t how low cost carriers are meant to be.
The inflight catering service commences. Flicking uninspiringly through the catalogue, I’m astounded to see that the menu is not your usual low cost carrier sugar-fuelled meals for $20. Gourmet wraps, fruit, salads and hot meal options; not to mention an extensive beverage menu.
The captain signals we will be commencing our decent shortly. I head to the bathroom to freshen up. There is nothing worse than feeling like a prune after a flight. I peer into the oversized mirror to find that my skin is surprisingly hydrated.
In this pod-like cubicle I can turn around and take a few steps without having to worry about my legs brushing the toilets. This bathroom is light, fresh and somehow airy.
I’m confused. Did this plane accidently get branded Jetstar? This plane looks like it should belong to the fleet of a premium airline, not a low cost carrier.
Reclining in my spacious seat, I listen to my favourite podcasts from Nova. Is this what all Jetstar International aircrafts are like? Before I can answer my own question, we have landed almost without a nudge let alone the hidden roar and grunt of reverse thrusting engines. As softly and quietly as a cloud this flight was. It was like a dream.
“Welcome to Sydney. If your mobile phone is within reach, you may now switch it on.” My phone is bombarded with social media. Comments flitter one after the other as I disembark. ‘OMG! You’re on the Dreamliner!’ ‘How was the new Dreamliner??????’ ‘Are you seriously on the Dreamliner?’ ‘More pics pleeeeeeease!!!’
I had just travelled on Jetstar’s brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and did not even realise it. #Fail.
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