By Mac Jaehnert
As Daft Punk once said... "Around the world, around the world". And then they repeated it 142 more times.
There's no shortage of songs about going around the world, and it's certainly not hard to see why. It's a great way to explore parts of the planet you've never laid eyes on, it's an accomplishment relatively few travelers can claim, and thanks to new budget long-haul routes from carriers like Norwegian, a comfortable global circumnavigation can now be yours for less than the cost of the new iPhone.
The arrival of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner series of fuel-efficient wide body jets have given airlines the ability to open up "long and skinny" routes between two cities that may not have had enough demand to sustain the passengers needed for a larger jet like a 747 or an a380, for example United's Denver to Tokyo route was only made possible by the arrival of the 787.
These new planes have also set a higher standard for comfort, most notably for economy passengers. The lighting systems have been redesigned to improve the cabin atmosphere as daylight conditions outside shift throughout the flight, aided by clever new windows with built-in tint settings instead of traditional shades. The air filtration and pressurization systems are greatly improved, offering cleaner air quality and cabin pressure that feels like 6,000 feet compared to previous long-haul jets which are pressurized to 8,000 feet. And finally, the cabin is noticeably quieter than traditional jets, hopefully giving weary travelers a better chance to sleep on board.
In the past year, I've been able to fly in business or coach on Dreamliners from United, Japan Airlines, Qatar, and Air Canada, and can personally attest that all of these new features are serious flyer improvements regardless of carrier or class of service, to the point where if I'm flying economy, I will actively seek out flights on the Dreamliner even if it forces me to adjust my schedule.
Given my affinity for this particular plane and its use on lower-cost long haul routes, I wanted to see if it would be possible to fly around the world from Denver and back using only Dreamliners in a cost efficient way. After some creative searching, here's the theoretical routing I came up with:
Leg 1: United 744 // DEN > LAX - $101
Leg 2: United 37 // LAX > SIN - $475
Leg 2.5 (Optional): Scoot // SIN > SYD > SIN - $286
Leg 3: Norwegian 7410 // SIN > LGW - $215.80
Leg 4: Norwegian 7171 // LGW > DEN - $200.90
In total, our 4 main legs would cost us 101+475+215.80+200.90, for a whopping grand total of $992.70 including all taxes and surcharges. Not bad for a relatively comfortable trip around the world and over 44 hours of total flight time! (Adding in Australia brings the cost up to $1278.7.)
Who's in? ;)