The new Dreamliner aeroplane is something that the manufacturers have been raving about for some time now. The plane boasts an extensive list of advanced technologies that not only improve the bottom line of the airliners who have purchased them but also improve the experience for their customers who board them.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Well, let me tell you! The Dreamliner boasts an incredible fuel economy compared to other aircraft, it has a 60% noise reduction, more oxygen fed into the cabin, improved turbulence control, a dynamic “wave” lighting system and larger windows that not only offer a better view but are dimmable by passengers via an electronic window controller. That’s pretty smart, no more attempting to pull down a crappy plastic window blind wondering if the window might pop out if you yank it too hard! Come on, we’ve all been there!
The list of technology on this aircraft really is extensive.
Upgrading to TUI Premium
When travelling long haul you’re always faced with a big financial dilemma. Should you upgrade your seats for a more premium experience or stick to cattle class like the rest of society?
Cost of upgrading
Well, recently Sarah and I headed out to Thailand for 2 weeks and decided that for a near 12 hour flight it would be worth us spending the extra cash for a more premium experience on such a long journey. So for an extra £800 (£200 per person each way) we upgraded our seats with TUI for one of the 43 premium seats on board. It is a lot of money but to be honest as I’ll explain later in this post, completely worth it!
TUI Premium check in
At the check in desks you can use TUI’s Premium check in desk to skip the queues, though we arrived so early there wasn’t a main queue at all(!) On the way back however it was great bypassing around 100 people to our dedicated check in desk.
TUI Premium also allowed for queue jump through security… or at least it should have done if the security guys at Birmingham airport knew what they were doing as they rejected our ticket even though it explicitly stated security queue jump on it! Useless! The queue was so short it only took 5 minutes so didn’t really matter but that was a little disappointing.
No.1 Lounge at Birmingham International
As part of the upgrade to TUI Premium you get the No.1 Lounge at Birmingham International included in the price of your ticket.
The lounge offers a selection of buffet food, tea, coffee and soft drinks whilst allowing you to relax on comfortable sofas. There are free premium magazines available along with charging point for your tech.
The No.1 Lounge is usually around £30 per person so the inclusion in your upgrade does make it more acceptable.
Premium Seating Area At The Departure Gate
Once your flight has been called and you make your way to the departure gate you will find that you are able to sit in the premium seating area. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s called premium but it certainly doesn’t feel that premium! At Birmingham International it’s simply a private seating area for the 43 premium customers which guarantees you a seat at the gate.
Once the flight is called you then receive priority boarding before any other passengers and living the dream, get to ‘turn left’ after boarding the plane. That’s it, you’ve finally made it in the world!
Premium Seating On The Dreamliner
The premium seating on the Dreamliner is as you would expect, at the front of the plane. The seats are 38 inches apart from one another which offers substantial legroom. That means you can confidently recline your chair without worrying about encroaching on the personal space of the passengers behind you. I’m 5’10 and this is how much legroom I was left with to the chair in front that wasn’t reclined:
The premium seats are more like armchairs than seats too. Soft cushions, spacious and with plenty of table space there’s enough room room for your things here. There’s also a UK plug socket on each chair to allow you to charge your devices and the usual selection of in flight entertainment services on a screen in the back of the chair in front of you.
Food & Drink
After you have taken your seat the TUI staff will bring you over a glass of prosecco.
Shortly after take off you will then receive a snack, ours being Tyrell’s Poshcorn along with a drink from the trolley. To save the cabin crew time on our flight our drinks order ended up with us receiving 2 of each so Sarah ended up with 2 large G&Ts and I had 2 Brewdog Punk IPAs, perfect!
You will also be given your dining menu and asked for your choice of main meal and wine. During our flight this was either chicken, beef or cannelloni.
We opted for the beef which was served around 2 hours into our flight. This was served with a bread roll, excellent profiterole for dessert and cheese and biscuits… with a glass of red wine. There’s not really a good way to make plane food look good but this was a really good tasting meal.
After your meal you will then be offered an aperitif or either tea, coffee, brandy or baileys… well it would be rude to say no, baileys it is!
Around 5 hours in to the 11 hour flight you be treated to a snack – we received a tiny Cornetto ice cream, yum!
As we approached morning we were served breakfast which again, although very much looked like the quality of plane food you would expected, tasted great.
As plane food goes the food on board on the Dreamliner was excellent and certainly some of the best I’ve eaten.
On board amenities
Whilst on board the Dreamliner you will be given some other freebies for the flight. This includes a fresh, large blanket, a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a small kit of toiletries. There is also the usual assortment of in flight movies and magazines to keep you entertained.
Finally, as part of your premium experience when you land you are also the first to disembark from the plane allowing you to enter security before long queues form and be at the front of the baggage claim.
Is TUI Premium Worth It?
Having flown long haul to both America and Canada previously with British Airways I would say that the TUI experience on Dreamliner is worth every penny. When you’re cooped up on an aeroplane for so long having already experienced a few hours getting through departures it’s easy to become bored, restless and irritable. Having been able to queue jump, relax in a lounge bar, wait to board in a guaranteed seat and then board quickly into a premium seating area coupled with an experience where you’re treated like a highly valued customer it’s honestly a no brainier.
Not everyone is going to be able to afford this of course as for 2 people the extra £800 on your holiday cost is a serious amount of extra cash that could be used on other things whether it be holiday related e.g. excursions/city break or other things back at home.
It’s not for everyone as everyone has their own priorities in life however for me, who on this occasion could afford it, I found it to be worth every penny.
TUI Dreamliner review
Travelling on the TUI Dreamliner was probably the best set of flights I have ever been on. The lighting controls, the extra oxygen reducing jet lag, the almost non-existent turbulence and incredibly quiet cabin were all great. Even after 11 hours in the air on the way out and 13 hours in air on the way back from Thailand to the UK I left the aircraft feeling quite fresh. The Dreamliner has a huge list of positive points going for it and couple this with TUI Premium and you’re on to a win!
Thanks TUI for a really enjoyable and relaxing experience, the Dreamliner was the smoothest flight I’ve ever had and your service was excellent. I can’t see Sarah and I going back to economy after this!