As Boeing accelerates towards its revised 2025 service introduction of the 777X versions of its venerable 777 twinjet, the airframer has fully revamped the cabin with more space between the sidewalls, new overhead architecture, bigger bins and more. Runway Girl Network sat down — quite literally, inside the 777X mockup at the Aircraft Interiors Expo — for questions, answers and demonstrations with Brenna Wynhof, Boeing’s regional director for cabin marketing.
First up: the wider cabin of the 777X as compared with the current version of the aircraft. “Even though we are using the exact same fuselage as the current 777 — that outer bound is very much the same — we were able to sculpt the frames of this aeroplane to get an additional four inches in the cross section,” Wynhof tells RGN.
“You are actually sitting in an 18-inch-wide seat at ten-abreast. That equates to a 17.2-inch aisle. But that’s not the end-all-be-all: even though that’s the widest you can achieve, there is a myriad of seat widths and aisle widths and armrest widths that you can achieve. We don’t want to dictate it: airlines get to decide how to spend it.”
Airlines’ decisions here will likely vary based on market — wider aisles for shorter turnarounds — and it will be informative to observe the extent to which any larger 777X customers opt for multiple configurations in this regard.
Continuing on the topic of space, one of the arguments made by airframers and seatmakers in recent years is that perception of space is almost as important as actual space.
Overhead, Wynhof explains, “we wanted to make sure that we were creating new interior lines that provided an enhanced passenger experience, so we tested these lines in a testbed. The test subjects rated their experience in the cabin in a way that performed better from personal space metric standpoints.”
Here, Boeing has done substantial work on the overhead bins, doubling their capacity compared with the existing 777 bins and reducing the closing force required by some forty per cent. There’s also a new bin latch that the company designed to be more intuitive to use for passengers and crew.
In the “A ceiling” architecture, where there are no middle bins, Wynhof explains that “we create one continuous curve, which creates a greater sense of verticality and height, as obviously sought after in a premium cabin”. This line is then reflected in a concave bin face.
Further back in the aircraft, Wynhof explains, “if you take that curve and that arc of the A ceiling panel and you flip it 180 degrees, you achieve the ceiling architecture that you’re sitting in, which is the B ceiling architecture… these outward arcs create a greater sense of breadth and width in the cabin, which is what we’re after in higher density cabin classes like premium economy and economy.”
Space and ambience is further boosted by a series of options for doors 2 welcome spaces, which offer flexibility of location of the combined galley and welcome zone — driven by an optimisation of the seats on board — of up to 27 inches.
New lighting, too, brings an airy feeling, with highly controllable and programmable LEDs that will offer airlines a huge variety of options when to comes to branding their cabins, visually signalling changes like mealtime or landing to passengers, and more.
And at the back of the aircraft, there are new galley options as well, although there is no island galley option at present.
At the show, Boeing showed a split screen of the two galley options. On the left in this picture, Wynhof explains “we have the transverse galley configuration, very popular, very standard and traditional in its nature. And then on the right side, we have the aft longitudinal galley, which is of course the more efficient footprint of the two”.
The latter also enables the lavatory option aft of doors 4.
All in all, the update is a remarkable success — at least as far as it can be judged in a mockup with just a single row of economy seats facing a big screen showing the #PaxEx possibilities. The bins are spacious, the lighting is impressive, and the optimised sidewalls make the best of the reality of ten-abreast seats on the 777 now being standard. The real proof, though, will come when we see real LOPA (layout of passenger accommodations) documents, real seats and real cabins within the 777X.
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Featured image credited to John Walton