The Boeing 757 vs Boeing 767 – Which Plane Is Better?

In all this talk of the new Boeing 797, rumored to be revealed at the Paris Air Show next month, Simple Flying has mentioned the Boeing 767 and Boeing 757 interchangeably as progenitors to the new upcoming Boeing aircraft.

767 757
Can you tell the difference between the two? Source: Wikimedia / Flickr

But what exactly were the Boeing 757 and 767, and how did they compare to each other?

What are the main differences?

The main difference between the two aircraft is one is a narrowbody twin-engine aircraft (757) and the other is a wide-body twin-aisle twin-engine jet (767). Both aircraft were developed simultaneously by Boeing, to fill two separate but important niches.

The Boeing 757 is designed to replace the Boeing 727, the most popular selling Boeing aircraft at the time. It would be bigger and be able to fly a longer distance and work well on the short runways that were popular back in that era.

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727 767
Predecessor and successor: an Air Atlantis 727-200 and an Air Europe 757-200. Photo: Wikimedia

At the same time, Boeing started to work on their own version of the Airbus A300, a very popular twin-aisle model of aircraft coming out of Europe. It would be designed to cater to medium haul high-density routes.

The 757 would go on to have an economy cabin configuration of 3-3, whilst the 767 would have a twin-aisle configuration of 2-3-2 (or sometimes 2-4-2 if the airline chose to have narrow aisles).

Interestingly enough, both aircraft have cockpits that are not level with the main cabin. On the Boeing 757, pilots must step down to reach the controls, whilst on the 767, they must step up.

However, they are so similar when it comes to controlling surfaces, cockpit layout, and aerodynamics that both aircraft received the same type rating from the FAA. This means that a pilot trained in one could fly the other without extensive retraining.

Direct comparison

Let’s look at the two aircraft families side by side:

ModelPassengers (2-Class)Range
757-2002003,915nmi / 7,250 km
757-3002433,400nmi / 6,295 km
767-200 / ER2143,900 nmi (7,200 km) –
ER 6,590 nmi (12,200 km)
767-300 / ER2613,900 nmi (7,200 km) –
ER 5,980 nmi (11,070 km)
767-4002965,625 nmi (10,415 km)

The 767, with its two aisles and wider body, was easily able to carry more passengers on the whole than the 757. Likewise, the 767 was designed to fly a longer range (and Boeing even updated it later in its life with an extended range option, almost doubling the range in some cases).

767
The first Boeing 767 takes flight in Seattle. Photo: Wikimedia

Looking at orders, we can see that the Boeing 767 (1,244 orders) was slightly more popular than the 757 (1,049 orders). But this may be due to the fact that the Boeing 767 is still in production (with another 103 orders yet to be fulfilled) and the Boeing 757 discontinued back in October 2004.

Which plane is better?

It is hard to say which of the two aircraft is better. They were both designed for completely different markets and carriers and were marketed as such.

But it is clear to see which Airlines favored, the Boeing 767. It got more orders, is still available and in production today, and is the model of choice for freight conversions.

What do you think? Which is the best aircraft? Let us know in the comments!

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Prinxe

I think more has to deal with the time period that the planes came out in. Widebody planes and 4 engine planes more ideal back then. But now in the 2019 a 757 plane narrow body and 2 engines is more ideal

Richard

I worked and flew on both for around 20 years as a Mechanic and later as a Tech specialist. Found the 767 to be a bit more reliable and easier to fix. Also the wide body cabin was much more comfortable from a passenger point of view, and more flexible for the airline. So my vote is for the 767.

Philip A. Kaiser

The 767 is a much more comfortable aircraft to fly in and is also a better choice for air carriers to operate due to the cargo configuration. The thing that really sets the 767 apart from the 757 is that the cargo and luggage is can loaded versus hand loaded. This not only allows much larger cargo pieces and flatbeds, but it is much faster and less labor intensive to load. Short turns equals more time in the air which always equate to profit. Take the word of my younger self when I was a baggage handler, you do not… Read more »

Fred W

Time to bring back a re-engined 757 on an interim basis to replace the 737MAX which must be grounded permanently. The 757 with its longer undercarriageand fitted with LEAP engines would offer a good 200/240 seater aircraft until a complete 737 replacement range is developed.

Hijinx

To me it’s like a Buick Roadmaster vs a Corvette.

Christopher Bryant

I love the B757. I unfortunately have never flown on the B767. I have flown 3 times from LA and Phoenix to Honolulu. My experiences were very good

Ian

I flew both for a big airline over many years. Loved them both …. but the 757 was far easier to land smoothly! The suspension on the 767 was rather hard! Both types were extremely reliable. One of the most common (of very few) problems arrived when ‘winding them up’ after a cold night in the open … but, like any computer that would not start correctly … switching everything off and a re-start … usually worked!