Despite various delays to its production, the Boeing 777X is a highly-anticipated aircraft. The type reflects the trend towards twin-engine long-haul aircraft, as carriers increasingly favor their efficiency over the capacity of four-engine giants. That said, the stretched-fuselage 777-9 variant is set to overtake the 747-8 as Boeing’s, and indeed the world’s, longest airliner. But how will the aircraft fare from the perspective of another important group, namely its passengers?
What is the Boeing 777X?
Let’s start by briefly introducing this exciting new twin-engine long-haul airliner series. 777X is actually an umbrella term for two next-generation variants of Boeing’s popular 777 family, which first flew commercially with United Airlines in 1995.
The new 777-8 corresponds to the original 777-200 series. It will have a two-class capacity of 384 passengers, and an impressive range of 16,170 km (8,730 NM). Meanwhile, the 777-9 is more comparable to the longer 777-300 series. It will seat 426 passengers across two classes, with a lower (but still strong) range of 13,500 km (7,285 NM).
Boeing launched the project in November 2013. It was initially expected to enter service in 2020, but various delays in the production process have seen this pushed back multiple times. The aircraft made its first test flight in January 2020, and it recently also began long-range testing. Boeing recently announced that it now expects the 777X’s first deliveries to occur in 2023.
A more spacious cabin
The Boeing 777X is known for drawing on modern technology to enhance its operations. An external example of this is its folding wingtips, which reduce its wingspan when on the ground. This makes it more accessible in terms of the gates that it can utilize when in this configuration.
Similarly, the aircraft will also feature some of the most up-to-date aspects of interior design in its passenger cabins. One key advantage over older 777 models is that its cabin will be 10 cm wider, thanks to thinner walls and better insulation.
This will allow a generous 18-inch seat width for economy class passengers, even in a 10-abreast 3-4-3 configuration. According to SeatGuru, the seat width in Emirates’ 10-abreast 3-4-3 economy class on existing 777s is 17 inches.
The extra space also extends upwards as well as sideways. The cabin will have higher ceilings, giving it a more spacious feel across all dimensions. This is despite featuring larger, easy-access bins, as Boeing announced in 2019. Much like the 787 ‘Dreamliner,’ the Boeing 777X will also include larger, dimmable windows, giving passengers some of the best views in the skies.
The 777X will also draw on Dreamliner technology in terms of the atmospheric conditions within its cabin. Specifically, the cabin will have an improved, higher level of humidity, as well as a lower ‘cabin altitude’ of 6,000 feet. This will represent more favorable atmospheric conditions than the typical cabin altitude of 8,000 feet that is more common among pressurized aircraft.
All in all, the Boeing 777X looks to be a very exciting aircraft family for everyone involved. It will benefit operators with its long range, high capacity, and increased efficiency. Meanwhile, passengers like you and me will greatly enjoy its aforementioned cabin design features!