The Boeing 777X promises to bring with it a plethora of passenger experience improvements. One part of this will be delivered through the use of larger, higher windows. The windows will not only be capable of letting in more light and giving everyone a view but will also be electronically dimmable faster and to a greater darkness than ever before.
What’s up with the windows on the 777X?
You might have noticed that the new 777X has a slightly different look to it than the original 777s. It’s not hugely obvious at first glance what this is, but to the eye that’s familiar with commercial aircraft appearance, there’s something unusual about the windows.
For a start, they’re big. At 162 square inches, they are some 29% larger than those on the rival Airbus A350, although still not quite as large as those found on the Dreamliner. But there’s something else different too, and that’s the position of the windows.
The 777X has windows that are mounted higher on the fuselage than on its predecessor. This serves a dual purpose, according to Boeing, which is to help the cabin feel lighter and more open, while also giving every passenger a view of the outside.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Speaking at Farnborough Airshow in 2014, when the 777X was announced, Scott Fancher, Boeing’s senior vice president of airplane development, commented on this, saying,
“One thing we learned from the 787 is the amazing passenger experience — the cabin altitude, the cleanliness, the openness and airiness of the interior. We’ve learned from it and replicated it in the 777X. From every seat in this airplane, the passenger will see the horizon.”
By placing the windows just that little bit higher, passengers throughout the cabin will be able to see out. This will undoubtedly go a long way towards improving the onboard experience and eliminating that feeling of claustrophobia that can sometimes come with having a seat in the middle block.
What else do we know about the windows?
As well as having larger, higher windows, the 777X has taken another leaf from the Dreamliner’s book and is going to feature electronically dimmable windows. In fact, this latest generation plane is getting the latest generation version of the technology, which promises to be even more capable than those seen in the 787.
Exhibiting at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in 2017, Gentex – the company that manufactures the electronically dimmable aircraft window – was showcasing its third generation variant. The first generation of windows received some criticism for allowing too much light in, even on their darkest setting, so in 2015 the company unveiled its second-generation model.
The second-generation window went from light to dark in half the time of the original technology. It also achieved a darkness that was ten times that of the first generation. But, for the 777X, even this was not enough.
Gentex’s third-generation window reportedly goes another ten times darker. This means it’s 100 times darker than the first generation window, blocking out 99.999% of light, according to Aircraft Interiors. It, again, darkens twice as fast, and is expected to feature a new switch concept that is easier to clean.
The large, high windows are just one part of the improved passenger experience we can expect on the 777X. Along with this are larger overhead bins, advanced LED lighting and a whole lot more. We can’t wait to give it a whirl ourselves, although it’s now looking like 2022 before that will happen.