After a four-year wait, Air India’s Dreamliner — purchased to save the ailing airline — made its first trip from Delhi to Chennai on Wednesday. The flight, arriving from the national capital with 118 passengers, touched down at 9.45 a.m. and was welcomed with a water cannon salute and puja.
“No doubt, the experience is an unmatched one, what with better seating arrangement and an extraordinary sound system. One major difference I found from normal flights is that I feel less tired after the travel,” said Suresh, a passenger on the aircraft.
With 256 seats, comprising 18 business class seats and 238 economy class seats, the flight boasts a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system and an enhanced gaseous filtration system that reduces headaches and dizziness inside the aircraft.
The business class has seats with flat-bed recline, reading lamps, larger LCD screens, and footrests. The windows have an electronic dimming system, a feature that allows passengers to choose the level of brightness they desire.
The flight returned to Delhi with 92 passengers after an hour and was expected to make its second trip to Bangalore in the evening.
Asked about procuring the aircraft at a time when the airline is faced with heavy loss, an Air India spokesperson said, “It is overwhelming to have incorporated the best aircraft in the world into our fleet. For the survival of the airline, we have to upgrade and modernise constantly.”
Seven of these aircraft will arrive by the end of the year, he said. The fares for passage on the aircraft, surprisingly, are on a par with an ordinary Air India flight, airport sources said.
The aircraft will be deployed to fly in the domestic sectors in the beginning and will be put on the international sectors in the forthcoming winter schedule.