Johannesburg - Etihad Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down at OR Tambo International Airport after its inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi November 1.
It's not everyday that one is afforded an opportunity to witness such elegance and splendour as the 787 Dreamliner lands for the first time in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Operating daily between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi, the two-class B787-9 Dreamliner features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins.
“The introduction of the Boeing 787 is a welcome development that will further enhance our guests’ experience on this route,” said John Friel, Etihad Airways General Manager, South Africa.
“Today’s modern traveller is constantly searching for comfort, innovation and convenience, and we aim to provide the highest standard of hospitality and technological advancements to make any journey a memorable one.”
“Our luxurious Dreamliners offer a best-in-class experience, and attention to every last detail.” he added.
With the champagne flowing, guests were treated to variety of the wines and meals that are served onboard including starters, mains and dessert.
“We have three starters, four mains and three desserts, that's a standard because we're trying to create a fine dining experience, don't do fish or beef,” said Laming.
After all the guests had disembarked, the media and business partners joined the crew for a touch and feel. Our first stop was the Economy class experience.
Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique “fixed wing” headrest on each seat with adjustable lumbar support.
The airline’s renowned hospitality includes innovative services such as Flying Nannies to look after the kids, comfortable seats with innovative cushions that convert from a standard pillow to a neck pillow.
The aircraft offers both WiFi and mobile connectivity and the latest in entertainment innovation including games, movies and music.
Guests also receive complimentary amenity kits with socks, earplugs, toothpaste, toothbrush as well as “do not disturb/ wake me up to eat” eye mask.
Our next stop was the Business class.
The Business studios are simply spacious, comfortable and very stylish.
Everyone was encouraged to experience the elegant recliner seats. They convert into fully flat beds, with special systems to adjust the firmness of the seat, massage function and lighting - all at the touch of a button. Guests also receive complimentary loungewear.
With 18inch touch screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets, the aircraft is nothing short of luxury.
An addition to the Business class experience is the complimentary door to door Etihad Chauffeur services. We also enjoyed the luxurious service as we we're chauffeured to and from the airport.
“Together now with our partners we're the seventh largest airline group in the world having 344 destinations and 711 aeroplanes and over hundred eleven million guests that we fly every year. You hear me say guests and not passengers, that's a big difference in the way we think, the way we design, the way we market and deliver our services across the board.
“In the true Emirates spirit welcome you into Etihad means welcoming you as a guest not as a passenger, and that's how we do what we do and how we better our service.
“And South Africa of all those countries around the world is an incredibly important market to us, it’s a growing market and it's one of the first destinations to receive B787, “ said Laming.
Laming said the best compliment they have ever received was when a guest left the aeroplane and he said “I didn't feel like I was in an aeroplane. Then we know we've done our job.”
The aircraft is also deployed to Brisbane,Düsseldorf, Perth, Riyadh, Shanghai, Singapore, Washington DC and Zurich.