The aviation world is abuzz this month, as the long-awaited Boeing 787 finally commences service. The new aircraft made its inaugural flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong on October 26th, amid plenty of hype and media attention.
Dubbed the “Dreamliner”, Boeing’s 787 has garnered plenty of publicity as the most advanced commercial airliner to date. Since the release of the groundbreaking Airbus A380 in 2007, Boeing has no doubt been eager to reclaim the spotlight from its rival, and has been hard at work building anticipation for the release of the 787.
Development of the 787 has been watched closely by aviation enthusiasts, many of whom believe this plane represents a shift in commercial air travel. While there are no huge technological advances to speak of, the dreamliner introduces a wide range of smaller, creature comfort innovations that promise to make flying a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Some of the noteworthy features on the new 787 include:
Humidity control. The cabin air is humidified to 16%, which is around double the air moisture of a standard plane cabin. This is intended to reduce the sore throats and stuffed noses that afflict many air travelers.
Mood lighting. The 787 cabin is fitted with a multi-colored LED lighting system, which can slowly change color during the flight and create a range of ambient “moods” for the passengers.
Bigger windows. Passengers will enjoy roughly 30% more window space on the 787, affording better views of the outside world and a less-claustrophobic flying experience. Boeing has done away with window shutters on the 787 – with the push of a button, passengers can darken or lighten the electronic tint of their window.
Higher ceiling. Tall passengers won’t have to stoop down as much on the 787, with a raised ceiling that in intended to make the cabin feel more open and accessible.
Improved storage. The overhead luggage bins on the 787 are more significantly larger and more spacious than usual, promising to reduce the difficulties passengers experience trying to load and unload their carry-on luggage.
Reduced noise. The jet engines on the 787 have been fitted with noise-deadening material, which Boeing claims will make the flight quieter both for passengers in the cabin and people on the ground.
Less shake, rattle and roll. The lightweight yet extremely strong carbon fiber frame of the 787 has been designed to reduce vibration and minimize the effects of turbulence.
These are very early days for the 787 yet. More detailed analysis of the plane will emerge as it begins making its way into commercial fleets over the coming months and years. A total of 800 planes have already been purchased by airlines around the world, so it won’t be too long before the “Dreamliner” becomes a regular fixture in the skies. We’re looking forward to it.