After getting the opportunity to fly on the first Qatar Airways 787 and then also flying back to the US on-board a Qatar Airways 777-200LR I wanted to be able to write a story to compare and contrast the two aircraft.
Since my Qatar Dreamliner flight back in November 2012, the 787 has run into some issues, but at least the aircraft is still flying. Both of my flights were in Business Class and both were about the same length, giving me a great opportunity to compare. Let’s break this down bit by bit…
Both the 787 and the 777 had a two-class configuration comprising of Economy and Business. Both aircraft had a 3-3-3 layout down the back in Economy, which gives a small advantage to the 777 due to being wider. In Economy the layout can be a bit tight on the 787. However as it is designed for mid-haul routes (say roughly 6-8 hours compared to the 10-14 hours that the 777 would fly), the seat width is acceptable, especially since many configure their long haul 777s in a ten-abreast set up.
The 787 Business class was in a 1-2-1 layout, where the business class on the 777 was 2-2-2. This gives an advantage to the Dreamliner, since each seat has direct aisle access.
Category Winner: Draw
ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT:
Both the 787 and 777 have Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) at every seat. However, the 787 uses a state-of-the-art system from Thales. The 787 had big, widescreen displays with plenty of options in both classes. The actual content was almost the same on both the 787 and 777.
The 787 AVOD is an android based system that is much easier to use compared to the older 777 entertainment option. Although the 777 AVOD was not by any means horrid, it felt slower and lead to some frustration by the user [ie me].
The biggest winner in this category is the OnAir in-flight connectivity for the 787. Being able to be connected to the internet during a long haul international flight is a wonder to modern technology.
Category Winner: 787 Dreamliner
This is the portion that most passengers will not realize, nor fully understand the benefits. The 787, with its carbon composite body, allows for a lower fuel burn rate and hence is more environmentally [and financially] friendly.
I love those GE90 engines on the 777 (both the 200LR and 300ER use then), but they still burn one heck of a lot of fuel. The 777 is still a very viable option on high capacity, long haul flights, where the 787 is better suited for lower capacity medium-haul flights.
The 787s carbon composite body means that it can be pressurized to a lower level and allow the humidity to be kept a little more comfortable. I could actually feel the difference!
After flying the 787, I felt still pretty good and felt fairly fresh. Flying on the 777 for a pretty similar length of time, left me feeling pretty run down, tired and awfully congested. I felt like someone had been stepping on me during the flight, so much so that I was barely able to hold it together upon arrival and struggled for a number of hours afterwards. Yes, my 777 flight was my return flight, after spending a bit in Qatar, but there was still a stark difference between the two aircraft.
The Dreamliner also sports larger windows, which means that passengers can enjoy an unparalleled view. For me, one downside to the 787 were the electro static window tinting. This is a new technology that allows the windows to be tinted electronically and with the push of a button the window tint can be adjusted up or down. However the process is slow.
Average transition from full open to close could take upwards of 30-40 seconds. Even though the crew can change the tint instantly in the event of an emergency, I would rather have a normal window shade as I have the ability to change the light level immediately rather than a few minutes from now as I wouldn’t want to miss something outside, such as the Northern Lights. In theory it seemed to make sense, but in practice, I found myself missing that classic shade, which the 777 still offers.
Category Winner: 787 Dreamliner
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the newer aircraft and product ends up being the favorite. The ground breaking technology and cutting edge design will please guests well into the future.
Hopefully the 77X project, can combine some of the features from the 787 into the next gen 777 and create an almost unbeatable aircraft. .
Overall Winner: 787 Dreamliner
Disclaimer: Qatar Airways paid for the trip to Qatar, all opinions are my own.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian AvGeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos|