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Boeing Dreamliner configurations…a big squeeze?

by on Sat June 25, 2011 • No Comment

Dreamliner in flightWith Boeing’s new Dreamliner finally getting to the point where it might enter commercial service, two airlines — ANA and LOT Polish airlines unveiled their configurations for the plane at the Paris Air Show this week. LOT’s CEO says “The name of that plane was not taken out of nowhere – the flight on board of the Dreamliner will be similar to a dream coming true .

But looking at their 9 abreast economy configuration versus the 8 abreast the plane was originally designed for, and 8 abreast ANA will be using, the dream you’ll be having in LOT’s coach may be that you can fall asleep and forget how tightly packed you are. We’re looking forward to trying both ANA and LOT’s business class products though. Here’s the rundown…

The good — everyone gets to see through much bigger windows, and the overhead bins hold more than before. The plane may also be quieter, and everyone gets state of the art entertainment systems.

The bad — airlines have a choice of 8 abreast or 9 abreast in economy class. For reference, this plane is wider than an Airbus A330, which usually goes 8 abreast, but not quite as wide as a 777, which typically holds 9 abreast.

What we don’t know — Continental / United is the U.S. launch customer of the plane. They haven’t revealed their configuration but we hear they’re going for 9 abreast in coach (ouch) but at least it should include an EconomyPlus section for extra legroom. Blogger Wandering Aramean tries to analyze the situation here.

The verdict — you might want to avoid this in coach if it’s a 9 abreast configuration if you can. Even in business class, this plane isn’t as roomy as a 777. The rub is, the 787 is designed to fly routes previously uneconomical for big widebodies like the 777, and too distant for smaller ones like the 767 or A330, so you might not have much choice if you want to save time. ANA’s configuration looks like a winner though — it will have among the widest economy cabins in the sky on a per seat basis, and business class solo travelers can enjoy what amounts to a throne in the middle section, with wide shelf space on either side.

ANA Dreamliner Economy

ANA’s 8 abreast economy class section…there are two armrests for the adjoining seats in the middle section











ANA Dreamliner Business

ANA’s unique business class section. Note the wide shelves for the solo center seat…lots of privacy.











LOT 787 Economy

LOT’s coach class configuration looks pretty tight with 9 abreast. How wide are those seats?









LOT Business Class 787

LOT’s business class configuration opts for a more traditional 2-2-2 approach, but aisles look narrow

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