The Boeing 787 Dreamliner stands apart from the Boeing aircraft that United currently flies. In fact, it’s different from any aircraft you’ve seen. We’d like to take you on a tour of the 787 inside and out, stopping along the way to show you the innovative features that make this a truly remarkable plane – one that you’re definitely going to want to fly on.
As we get closer to the delivery of the 787, we'll be offering news and photos that are specific to our own Dreamliner. In fact, we'll be dedicating an entire section of United Hub to the 787.
787 innovations from the outside in
From its exterior design to the manufacturing materials and build process, the 787 introduces a number of innovations and advances in technology. It’s not always easy to know, just by looking, what model a particular airplane is. But the 787 was designed from the outset to stand out. If you’re one of our customers who is versed in aviation design, you may spot a few distinct features that set it apart from other aircraft including the windshield made of four panels, the graceful sweep of the wings and the smoother contour of the nose.
Along with the design, the most significant exterior innovation is Boeing’s approach to the primary structure of the 787. While other aircraft are made primarily of metal, the 787’s fuselage and wings – a full 50 percent of the whole – are formed of carbon fiber-enforced polymers. Constructing so much of an airplane from composite materials is a truly revolutionary approach.
Composite materials are lighter and more durable than standard metal and these qualities give the 787 the advantage when it comes to incorporating advances in aircraft technology. Other direct benefits of using composites include greater manufacturing efficiency (the fuselage is fashioned as several one-piece barrels), greater fuel efficiency (a 20-percent decrease in fuel consumption), fewer hours of maintenance over the long run and lower cabin altitude for more comfortable flights.
Next-next generation engines
Let’s not forget the engines. Thanks to advances in engine technology, the Dreamliner’s General Electric engines generate power in a more efficient way than the engines found on traditional systems. In fact, the engine technology is nearly two generations ahead of what’s currently in use. And you’ll be amazed by the sound of the 787’s takeoff and landing; the noise footprint is a full 60 percent smaller than similarly sized planes.
Experience the Dreamliner interior
When it comes to the 787, it’s not just the outside that impresses. You are in for a treat when you travel on this plane. From the ambient lighting and expansive windows to the improved air quality and smoother ride, flying on the Dreamliner is a new experience in air travel.
Bigger windows with adjustable tint
When you step inside the 787, you immediately notice two unique features: 1) the cabin has an airier, less closed-in feeling due to the size of the windows, which are the biggest of any of today’s commercial passenger airliners, at least 30 percent larger than windows on comparable aircraft; 2) you no longer have to pull shades up and down, as buttons on the windows dim the light electronically, with a range from fully transparent to dimmed.
Dynamic LED lighting
The new LED lighting in the 787 lends variety and ambiance to the already comfortable cabin. Whether you're on the plane for business or leisure, you'll appreciate the experience especially during longer flights when the lighting gradually changes from dawn to dusk.
Spacious storage bins
North of the big windows, you’ll find large storage bins, which you’ll appreciate. The bins in the 787 were designed to accommodate travelers’ wheeled roller bags more easily. No more Tetris®
-like moves as you try to figure out how to slide your bag into a tight spot in a nearly full bin. Lower cabin altitude
Another piece of welcome news related to the cabin environment: our customers may very well experience a lessening in headaches, dry eyes and fatigue – the direct result of the cabin pressure of 6,000 feet. This is a noticeably lower altitude than the 8,000 feet for most other aircraft. Cleaner, healthier air
Now on to features that aren’t so obvious to your eye. The 787 interior has a higher humidity level, made possible by the use of composite materials. In addition, the 787 incorporates a new filtration system that removes particulates from the air.
If even a slightly bumpy ride makes you uncomfortable, you’re going to like the introduction of an anti-turbulence device on the 787. How did Boeing do this? Special sensors located throughout the aircraft send signals about upcoming turbulence, providing time for the plane to compensate for it. Your flight might not be completely turbulence-free, but you'll notice a smoother ride than on comparable aircraft.
When you travel on the Dreamliner, you might find yourself daydreaming instead of zipping through that book you planned to read. Boeing designed the 787 Dreamliner to create a quiet, calmer flying experience. A lot of careful thought went into the interior enhancements including quieter air conditioning, advanced vibration isolation in the sidewalls and ceilings, new noise-reducing designs for the inlets and fans, greater control over engine vibration and systems and equipment vibration isolation from the airplane.
Looking at the many innovations of the 787 together and you get a plane that’s environmentally progressive throughout its entire lifecycle – from design to delivery to operation. Whether it’s lower fuel consumption, decreased emissions or fewer pieces of scrap and waste, the experts at Boeing thought of everything, all the way to the end of the 787’s service life, with the inclusion of materials that are recyclable.
As you can see, the 787 Dreamliner represents a major leap forward in aircraft innovation and advanced technology – from the exterior design and materials to the interior details. The result is a beautiful aircraft that delivers outstanding environmental performance.