/ Travel & Leisure

Would you pay £20 to fly in the new Boeing Dreamliner?

Would bigger windows, funky lighting and the promise of reduced jet lag convince you to pay more for your long-haul flight? That’s what tour operator Thomson is hoping with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

If you choose to fly to Mexico or Florida with Thomson next year, you might have the chance to test out the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Around half of Thomson’s flights in 2013 will use this swanky aircraft. But if you want to step aboard what is billed as the future of flying, it’ll cost you an extra £20.

You may be wondering what you get for an extra tenner each way. Well, I hopped on board a Dreamliner when it called into Heathrow the other week, and I certainly noticed a difference, even though we never left the ground.

Living the Dreamliner

There are bigger windows – about three times bigger than on the average plane. And the windows don’t have shutters – you simply press a button to make the glass darker or lighter.

You’ll also find larger luggage bins – about a third larger than on the average jet. There’s new cabin lighting with orange and lavender hues to mimic sunrise and sunset, helping passengers’ body clocks adjust to new time zones, while reducing the effects of jet lag.

These features looked like a good step forward to me, although whether the window controls can withstand the repeated fiddling from curious kids still remains to be seen.

But the big developments come in when the plane leaves the ground. Changes to the way the cabin is pressurised will add more oxygen to the air, meaning passengers will be less likely to feel air-sick. Oh, and don’t forget extra filters in the cabin to make the air cleaner and, apparently, less smelly.

Fly with peace of mind

If you’re concerned about the impact your flight has on the environment, you’ll be pleased to hear that the plane burns less fuel than the average comparable aircraft, producing 20% less CO2.

A number of noise-reducing improvements have also been made, such as the plane being built out of lightweight composite materials, which should make it quieter both inside and out.

Personally, I’d happily pay £20 extra to have a go on the new Dreamliner when it’s in the air. For me, playing with the windows and feeling like I was part of something new would be well worth it. But when every penny counts, would you cough up to live the Dreamliner dream or keep that £20 for a good meal once you’ve arrived at your destination?


nice windows that may help with jetlag and ‘funky’ lighting are all very well but what I want on a long hall (actually ANY flight) is more leg room. At 5ft 8″, I’m not the tallest of chaps but I still find the leg room on many aeroplanes terribly uncomfortable.
Does the Dreamliner have better seating? If it does, I’d pay the extra £10 each way for that

Agreed! I have long legs too, and on long-haul flights it can be really uncomfortable. Having said that I am phenomenally tight with money, so although I’d probably resent having to squash into small seats again I think when booking the tickets I’d always untick as many boxes as possible to avoid the extra fees. £20 sounds like a lot of money just to get a flight on a specific type of plane.

Presumably this will affect flight times too – if the shiny new plane is going at exactly the time I need to fly then I might fork out the £20, otherwise I’d probably leave it.

Phil says:
8 May 2012

It won’t make up for the nightmare airport experience at each end of the flight.

You can take a quick tour of the Dreamliner via Thomson’s video below – it looks like the legroom will be slightly improved, but for economy passengers, I’m not convinced it will make a huge difference!

I think £20 is worth the experience.

The CO2 news is good.

No way will I pay more to use their new plane. The fleet was due to be upgraded anyway and to ask for more to use the new aircraft is cheeky to say the least.

As ‘the plane burns less fuel than the average comparable aircraft, producing 20% less CO2’. I would think that there would be a reduced tax on flights on this airliner, meaning a reduction of costs, not increase.

I agree, I was about to make the same point. It uses around 20% less fuel according to Boeing, hence the carbon emission reduction, so they are making money from passengers using it.

Surely passengers should be encouraged to use it, not discouraged. As you say, it is a bit of cheek to ask us to pay more when getting more people to use it will benefit the environment and Thomson’s fuel budget.

Perhaps if we ask Thomson to fly us in an old DC-9 we can claim a £20 discount?

joArm says:
2 July 2012

If this new plane is so green and we would be helping the environment using it, surely they should be charging more on the gas guzzlers and less on the new dreamliner…….

Janey says:
7 October 2012

If you have paid over £1000 for your holiday what is an extra £20.00 go on do it. It will be Mexico again for me.

Everyone has there own views on budgeting and what to spend there money on. Some will want to choose exactly which elements to spend there money on, others will just look at the overall cost like Janey.
I’ll happily pay for a specific seat or fast boarding on a holiday flight but probably not for a regional flight.
While there is a market for choice and extras companies will charge for them, its how they make money and that is what running a business is all about.

chris says:
29 December 2012

£20 extra for the dreamliner, that’s rubbish, Thomson have said the dreamliner will reduce fares due to less fuel burn