In the last 20 years, flying has changed significantly. Airlines have adopted new models, squeezed in more seats, enhanced airport security has become a thing, and so have revenue-based frequent flyer programs. While most of these changes are not happy ones for many travelers, the 777X does have a few tricks up its sleeve to improve the overall passenger experience.
A new passenger experience
Boeing has made some significant improvements with subsequent generation aircraft. The 737 MAX offers a comfortable ride, once it is back in the air of course, and greater fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, the 787 has a system that brings in air from outside rather than from the engine thus improving cabin air quality. And, the 777X continues to build on these improvements.
Beyond this, the 777X will also offer dimmable windows which are perhaps one of the more polarizing of features on an aircraft. Moreover, let’s take a look at what airlines can do with the 777X.
A new, enhanced first class?
Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and British Airways are all carriers with orders for the 777X. Furthermore, these carriers also do have a first class product. Though most are moving towards suites, the 777-9 is a large aircraft with some room for the airlines to play around and introduce a new First Class.
British Airways, however, would likely keep its current First Class product coming on some new aircraft like the Boeing 787-10. But, both Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines could upgrade the 777X with a new First Class product. Meanwhile, Emirates will keep its existing “new” First Class on the 777X. Lastly, ANA will likely put its new First Class on the 777X as well.
Business class onboard the 777X
This is the real place where premium passengers will get a glimpse of the new passenger feel. While Boeing graphics indicate that business class could come in a 2-3-2 configuration, most airlines will likely shy away from that.
Lufthansa is going for a stunning new product on its 777X aircraft. Meanwhile, British Airways will put the Club Suite on this aircraft. Emirates is moving business class more towards what is on the A380. ANA has its new business class suite. Qatar has the excellent Qsuite that it can use on this aircraft. And, Singapore Airlines could launch a new business class product on the 777X.
However, it is important to note that the 777X is much wider than other widebodies. This means that airlines can widen aisles, increase seat width, and give passengers some more room to move around. In business class, this would almost eliminate the need for a first class cabin.
Most airlines will likely go for a 2-4-2 configuration in premium economy on the 777X. The cabin is not wide enough to add another seat per row. However, the extra room could be used to widen some of the aisles or else add a little bit of width to each seat.
The economy passenger experience
This is one area where passengers will likely prefer the experience on the 777X over most of its competitors. The current 777 is able to fit a 3-4-3, 10-abreast configuration. While the new 777X is wider, fitting another seat per row would be incredibly tight– especially for a full-service carrier. In all likelihood, airlines will probably be able to add some more width to each seat or else widen the aisles. So, this would improve some of the passenger experience, but 10-abreast is still a bit tight.
However, Boeing will have larger overhead bins to accommodate more carry-on luggage. This will be a welcome relief for travelers on a long-haul flight who want to keep a spare set of clothing, some chargers, or else a small dental kit with them during flight.
Passengers will, however, notice larger windows. This will give the cabin a more open and airy feel on daytime flights. In addition, this also means that more passengers will be able to see out of a window during a flight. This could help reduce some claustrophobia and stress that may come from placement in a middle seat.
The greater cabin width and large footprint of the 777X give airlines a bit more room to play around with configurations. While business and first class passengers will likely see most of these improvements, economy and premium economy passengers likely will notice the difference of flying a 777X vs a 10-abreast 777.
Are you excited for the 777X? What do you think the passenger experience on the 777X will be like? Let us know in the comments!