Boeing's latest and greatest, the $US193.5 million 787 Dreamliner, is expected to change long-haul air travel just as much as the 707 and A380 Airbus models that preceded it. Here are just a few of the new systems and conveniences on board.
The first thing passengers are likely to notice are the huge new windows -- 30 per cent larger than the norm -- that don't require one to squish his face against them to see the ground below. They're so big that even the folks in the centre aisle will have a decent view. And instead of those ghetto plastic sliding shades, electrochromic glass will darken within 30 seconds to minimise glare.
Passengers will also notice how cavernous the overhead storage area is -- the 787's overhead bins are the largest ever. They're reportedly large enough to fit a carry-on bag from each of the plane's 240 passengers. What's more, the bins are angled to increase the perceived space in the cabin. What they probably won't notice is that the plane's hull is composed of composite material rather than the traditional aluminium, which saves weight and better resists corrosion.
Once in flight, the flight's luxuries can really be seen. During long flights, the interior lights gradually adjust colour to minimise jet lag. The cabin air is also more moist than other airlines -- 16 per cent humidity vs the normal 8 per cent, and it will be pressurised to only 6000 feet -- 2000 less than other planes.
The 787's engines reduce both interior and exterior noise thanks to a specially designed wave pattern around the exhaust. And, due to the hull's weight reduction, additional sound dampening has been added to quiet the in-cabin noise even further. And to compensate for turbulence, an accelerometer in the nose cone measures for sudden altitude drops and signals an adjustment to the wings -- reducing potential dips by as much as 60 per cent.
These are fine and good improvements, but they still miss the biggest problem most people have with flying -- the oversized account executive in the seat next to them who smells of stale cheese and won't stop SNORING.
Top image: AP