Sunday, March 04, 2012

Like a Prius with Wings

The Boeing 787 is almost here, and by here, we now mean Boston.  From The Globe this morning:
Even if Boston had enough long-distance travelers to pack massive planes like the Airbus A380, which seats up to 800, Logan’s short runways prohibit such planes from taking off fully loaded with passengers, fuel, and cargo.

The Dreamliner, configured with 186 seats on Japan Airlines’ Boston flight, solves both these problems. ‘It’s definitely a game changer. I think this airplane will reset the expectation of the passengers in terms of cabin comfort.’

“It’s made to order for Logan Airport,’’ said Edward Freni, director of aviation for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan. “It’s something that we’ve waited for for a long time.’’
I didn't so much mind changing planes in Chicago or San Francisco for the few occasions that I fly, but I'll certainly take the non-stop.  Of more interest to me is what airlines are doing with the opportunity created by the lower-weight materials:
To try to reconnect travelers to “the magic that is flight,’’ said Kent Craver, regional director of passenger satisfaction at Boeing, engineers added amenities made possible by the flexibility, lighter weight, and durability of the composites. They raised the ceiling and installed larger windows that passengers can dim and brighten at the touch of a button. They increased humidity to combat dryness, pressurized the cabin to a lower altitude to reduce headaches, and developed a filtration system to eliminate perfume and hairspray contaminants that irritate passengers’ eyes and throats.
They built bigger overhead luggage bins and installed technology that helps the plane compensate for turbulence and provide a smoother ride.
That all seems like an expensive alternative to a simple policy of not treating passengers like cattle, but I'll take progress where I can get it and look forward to my first ride.

1 comment:

PeakVT said...

They increased humidity to combat dryness

This comes from not using bleed air rather than the use of composites for the airframe. It could be done in a new aircraft with a conventional aluminum structure.