Four Reasons I Prefer The A350 To The 787

Four Reasons I Prefer The A350 To The 787

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As we see airlines continue to retire four engine planes, it’s pretty clear that the future of long haul aviation involves planes with two engines. In that sense, the two planes that are really revolutionizing air travel are the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.

Vietnam Airlines A350-900

What makes these planes so incredible is their fuel efficiency, long range, low operating costs, and fairly low capacity (at least compared to planes like the A380 or 747), which is a great combination for airlines to maximize revenue.

These planes have opened up routes that weren’t otherwise possible. For example, look at All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines in the US alone. Pre-pandemic the two carriers flew 787s from Tokyo to Boston, San Diego, and San Jose, routes which they couldn’t previously have operated in an economically feasible fashion.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787-9

All that being said, I do have a preference between the two planes, and figured I’d share four reasons I prefer the A350 to the 787.

The A350 has an awesome tail camera

While I suppose it’s technically not a “standard” feature of the A350, most of the A350s I’ve flown have offered tail cameras. Who needs inflight entertainment when you can just watch your gorgeous plane crossing the globe for hours on end? Meanwhile as far as I know, no 787 offers such a tail camera.

Qatar Airways A350-1000 tail camera taking off from Doha
Finnair A350-900 tail camera approaching Helsinki

The A350 has superior windows

When the 787 was first introduced, Boeing advertised how great the 787’s windows are. They are substantially bigger than on other commercial planes, which is a plus.

The catch is that as a standard feature, the 787 doesn’t have window blinds. Instead the windows just “dim” at the push of a button. That sounds great in theory, except in practice windows don’t get dark. Call me traditional, but I simply like the A350’s “proper” window shades, which can be fully lowered. Unfortunately the Airbus A350 will soon be adopting this technology as well.

Japan Airlines’ 787-9 business class windows
Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 business class windows

The A350 has more comfortable economy seating

When the 787 was first introduced, several airlines installed eight seats per row in economy. In the industry’s never ending attempt to fit more seats onto planes, many airlines eventually increased that to nine seats per row.

Meanwhile the A350 has nine seats per row, though has a wider cabin. As a result, you can expect economy seats on the A350 to have 18″ of width, while on the 787 they have closer to 17″. Every inch counts!

Etihad Airways’ 787-9 economy
Scandinavian Airlines’ A350-900 economy

The A350 is quieter

While I haven’t personally measured the sound, I’ve been consistently amazed by how quiet the A350 is. While the 787 is already significantly quieter than other Boeing models, the A350 is on par with the A380 in terms of how quiet it is in the cabin. That really can make a huge difference when it comes to overall wellbeing and being able to sleep.

Airbus claims that interior noise levels on the A350 are five decibels quieter than competing aircraft (presumably the 787), and up to nine decibels quieter towards the front of the plane, equating to four times less noise.

The A350 is quiet!

Bottom line

Both the 787 and A350 are revolutionary in terms of the opportunities they’ve opened up for new routes to be economically viable. As we see airlines retire larger planes, it’s increasingly clear that these wide body jets represent the future of long haul travel.

While I’m always happy to fly either the A350 or 787, I do have a preference for the A350. As an avgeek I love the tail camera, and as someone who struggles to sleep on planes I prefer the window shades and the quieter cabin. Lastly, in economy there’s no arguing that the A350 is more comfortable all around than the 787.

Do you have a preference between the 787 and A350?

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  1. Captain W. Niece Guest

    I've had the unique opportunity of flying both, and I prefer the 787! Boeing has a more extended, more reliable reputation in the industry, and I feel more comfortable supporting an industry leader than someone like Hyundai copies other successful companies!

    1. Gerard Guilfoyle Guest

      Whilst there is no argument on CFRP development for large components lead initially from the US. The production / assembly process is different with the A 350. There appears to be a slightly anti European bias here. Boeing has always been a big player and soaked up many companies in its wake.( not always for the best even for US companies)
      Boeing and Airbus build good aircraft. Quite insulting to quote,copying, Hyundai etc. Sometimes...

      Whilst there is no argument on CFRP development for large components lead initially from the US. The production / assembly process is different with the A 350. There appears to be a slightly anti European bias here. Boeing has always been a big player and soaked up many companies in its wake.( not always for the best even for US companies)
      Boeing and Airbus build good aircraft. Quite insulting to quote,copying, Hyundai etc. Sometimes in the politico/business world the US has worked against European manufacturing. Isn’t it Euro/ Ukrainian/Russian built jet engines that got the US to the moon. Questionable statement historically on more extended reliable reputation. presently in the process of rebuilding that reputation.

  2. Craig Guest

    Flew UK to Mumbai with Air India on a 787 and the crew dimmed the windows for the whole journey it was awful I like to see out and didn't have the option. Downside to the auto dimming windows.

  3. Eric Guest

    I was once on LOT Polish 787 from ORD to WAW. The flight was smooth and comfortable. The biggest gripe, and probably why it should be the air crew controlling the windows, is when certain windows are unshaded. On a return flight during the day, most of the plane's windows were shaded, making for a virtual red-eye flight effect. But some people managed to unshaded their windows. This created a pin-hole camera effect which really lit up the cabin.

  4. JimA Guest

    Proper movable window shades are the only reasonable solution! Tech run amok continues to solve nothing.

  5. H Vandenbergh Guest

    I had the opportunity to fly the 787-9 and the A350-900 back to back, in business class, just before the pandemic created travel havoc. Qantas B787-9 Brisbane to Hong Kong, connecting with Finnair A350-900 Hong Kong to Helsinki. In my mind - and considering these are 2 premium airlines - the 350 pipped the 787. It must remain impressionistic, but I was more comfortable in the A350. Previously I had flown the 747 and A380...

    I had the opportunity to fly the 787-9 and the A350-900 back to back, in business class, just before the pandemic created travel havoc. Qantas B787-9 Brisbane to Hong Kong, connecting with Finnair A350-900 Hong Kong to Helsinki. In my mind - and considering these are 2 premium airlines - the 350 pipped the 787. It must remain impressionistic, but I was more comfortable in the A350. Previously I had flown the 747 and A380 extensively, all long haul from Australia or the Far East, all in bizclass, on a variety of carriers (QF, BA, Thai, Lufthansa, Emirates). The differences in the big twins cfr to the 4 engined beasts was massive, so the intra big twin impressions are, I think, valid. This despite not having to compare the extra seat-width in economy on the A350.

  6. John Ebert Guest

    European Workmanship is much more precise and therefore results in a safer product. I feel more at ease flying in an Airbus and hope LH will return them on the SIN -run.

  7. Joseph Mathews Guest

    Six months before Covid-19 hit, I had the best flight of my life on a Lufthansa A-380 from Frankfurt to Miami in Business Class on the upper deck. Quiet, comfortable and the time flew. My least favorite "wide body" is the older A-330 also in Business Class. A bit cramped, more noise and just meh. Am flying the 787-9 in Business next month IAH-IZE and noticed the Polaris seats are one to two inches narrower on the that aircraft than the ones on the 777's.

  8. Nick PULLING Guest

    Hopefully get to try the A350 on 4/03/2022. Flying Qatar to Doha then on to Phuket. Not sure yet if this is the plane they use from Manchester?

  9. Lennart Guest

    @Jiimy, “Airbus copied like they always do”… does that also include the “re-development” of a 50 year old airframe into a flying coffin called the 737MAX because Airbus came with a A320Neo 14 months earlier? No! Keep the credit where it belongs and that’s certainly not Boeing (and we’re not even going into the 787 South-Carolina issues because those problems will occur when you hire Hamburger staff to build an aircraft!)

    1. Joseph Mathews Guest

      Sadly, I have to agree with you. I have two grandsons, both mechanical engineers at Boeing in Washington State. Boeing's management made its first huge mistake when it moved the Executive Offices to Chicago. Next came the "cost savings" on the MAX MCAS when they outsourced the programming to $9 an hour Indians. Then, they gave the middle finger to the unions in Washington State and assembled the Dreamliner in South Carolina. A lot of...

      Sadly, I have to agree with you. I have two grandsons, both mechanical engineers at Boeing in Washington State. Boeing's management made its first huge mistake when it moved the Executive Offices to Chicago. Next came the "cost savings" on the MAX MCAS when they outsourced the programming to $9 an hour Indians. Then, they gave the middle finger to the unions in Washington State and assembled the Dreamliner in South Carolina. A lot of those Boeing employees in Washington State are third generation employees, too. Another disaster. Imagine, if in 2000, Lockheed was still making passenger planes and used the Constellation frame for new aircraft. No wonder Airbus sells so many. I like the A-320 and A-321 too.

  10. Jiimy Guest

    Boeing was the first one that came out with a state of art 787 then airbus copied like they always do don’t get me wrong I love airbus too but give credit we’re it belongs

  11. Gerald Guest

    Flown 20 + times 12+ hour sectors (all in economy). Handsdown the A350 is the most quiet, solid-built and comfortable aircraft. The 787 is a nasty 'cheap' experience, the seats feel paperthin and are very uncomfortable. The 787 toilet seat doesn't even stay upright for goodness sakes. The A350 is on a different level, the seats are firmer and have better support, better legroom and better bathroom. Boeing have become a sham since the amazing...

    Flown 20 + times 12+ hour sectors (all in economy). Handsdown the A350 is the most quiet, solid-built and comfortable aircraft. The 787 is a nasty 'cheap' experience, the seats feel paperthin and are very uncomfortable. The 787 toilet seat doesn't even stay upright for goodness sakes. The A350 is on a different level, the seats are firmer and have better support, better legroom and better bathroom. Boeing have become a sham since the amazing 777 they are now run by penny pinching MBAs. Such a pity to see what they have become.

  12. Carlo Guest

    I have flown a350 b777,b787
    Without a showdown of a doubt Boeing is nowhere near as comfortable as the airbus
    Even in business the a350 is far superior and quieter

  13. John Ratchford Guest

    Tail cameras are not new, and Airbus did not come up with the odea, in fact McDonald offered them on the DC-0, unfortunately they were on the DC 10, that lost an engine on take off at
    CHICAGO'S OHAIRE the terified passengers watched themselves crash! I don't think it's a smart idea, give me a movie any day.

    1. John S. Abitchford Guest

      Tail camera on the DC-10? Passengers watched themselves crash? Did you skip your meds when you wrote this?

    2. Roman Vlk Guest

      He is correct, but the camera was located in the cockpit and is unknown whether it was on until the very last moment.

    3. Sergio Guest

      Not what my ears would tell. I think I found the 787 more comfortable than the 350 you know. And while all planes yes or not are still laud. But without doubt, if I going to select an aircraft from all there are on this world, I would select the Embraer E2 series for a comfort fly.

    4. Jimmy Guest

      Every plane should have cameras all around the plane for the pilots so they can see what’s going on especially with engines

    5. Bols59 New Member

      This article is about the A350. Your reply contains a pet bete noire you prolly bring up at Thanksgiving dinners. I bet you're really fun at christenings and weddings!

  14. Eli donald Guest

    Boeing still has yesteryear technology, a321neo,787max!

    1. John Ratchford Guest

      Well Eli, if you like exceptionally modern technology, with all this fancy computerization, will you fly on Airbus, planes when they have perfected their pilotless system ?, Their advatisiNG goes like this.

      FLY AIRBUS THE MOST MODERN AIRLINERS IN THE WORLD! Our PLA escort you less to travel on because we have no pilots!
      On the flight deck there willoneman, and a dog, the man is there to feed the dog! and the dog...

      Well Eli, if you like exceptionally modern technology, with all this fancy computerization, will you fly on Airbus, planes when they have perfected their pilotless system ?, Their advatisiNG goes like this.

      FLY AIRBUS THE MOST MODERN AIRLINERS IN THE WORLD! Our PLA escort you less to travel on because we have no pilots!
      On the flight deck there willoneman, and a dog, the man is there to feed the dog! and the dog is there to stop the man from touching anything!

      Numb side stick controllers have caused several crashes, Air France in the north atlantic, was one terrible accident.

      Give me a yoke any day, something that has tactile feel, and both pilots can see what going on from both sides of the cockpit.

      We are rushing headlong into a nightmare of technology!! Mcas was bad enough, there is more to come if we continue on this course of one upmanship??

  15. ANTONIO Guest

    I NEVER EVER WILL CHOSE AN AIRBUS BIRD OVER ANY BOEING....I ONCE FLOWN FRO WASHINGTON D.C. TO MADRID SPAIN ON AN AIRBUS 330 AND NOTHING BUT THE ENGINES WERE WORKING PROPERLY...UNLESS AIR LINGUS WASN'T TAKING CARE OF THE BIRD, ANY HOW, NEVER AGAIN ON AN AIRBUS...PLEASE !!!

    1. Joseph Mathews Guest

      Bet you flew on "Siberia"!

    2. Mark Kennedy Guest

      I feel the same way. I have flown on both the 787 and the a350 and I just felt a lot more comfortable on the Gulf Air 787 than the FinnAir a350. The 787 started it all; the Airbus just copied like they always do.

  16. Mark Guest

    LOL!
    TAIL CAMERA?
    The 787 is KING!
    IF ITS NOT BOEING, ITS NOT GOING!
    Airbus squeaks and creaks!
    Some times I just have to laugh and lack of knowledge.
    Between folks bitching about inflight meals and other non essentials.

  17. coolgsd Guest

    To a point, the manufacturer is responsible for the comfort (windows, noise level, overhead bins, etc) but the seating - pretty much all customer. They determine the seating and that is what makes the main difference between a comfortable flight and a long body ache. I was lucky enough to work on both airplane designs and I will say that the French team was considerate and very sharp. I suppose that would change with what...

    To a point, the manufacturer is responsible for the comfort (windows, noise level, overhead bins, etc) but the seating - pretty much all customer. They determine the seating and that is what makes the main difference between a comfortable flight and a long body ache. I was lucky enough to work on both airplane designs and I will say that the French team was considerate and very sharp. I suppose that would change with what part of the airplane you were working on - so section 15 body vs pylons.

  18. Andy Guest

    I have flown the A350 and the B787 back-to-back on connecting flights twice in the past four weeks. My verdict: the A350 is now officially my favorite passenger aircraft.

    I am not biased against Boeing and the B787 is a great machine, but the A350 is noticeably quieter, the cabin has a wider, more spacious feel to it, the fittings in the interior appeared slightly better than Boeing's, and the A350 seemed to be...

    I have flown the A350 and the B787 back-to-back on connecting flights twice in the past four weeks. My verdict: the A350 is now officially my favorite passenger aircraft.

    I am not biased against Boeing and the B787 is a great machine, but the A350 is noticeably quieter, the cabin has a wider, more spacious feel to it, the fittings in the interior appeared slightly better than Boeing's, and the A350 seemed to be less susceptible to clear air turbulence than the 787. It might have been a coincidence, but it happened twice on the same route. The A350 really felt like I was gliding on a cloud, the comfort level was amazing.

  19. Jay Kirby Guest

    787 wins hands down. I'll take no bleed air over a noisier flight any day.

  20. dan Guest

    haven't flown the 787 yet. Flew a finnair 350. as a tight wad that might never fly business or first, I have my favorite seat. I do have to say the camera's both the nose and tail were cool.

  21. langata Guest

    Aka Lucky
    therefore should have started "as an AV geek .. i prefer..''

  22. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

    I flew in an AC 787 in Y from YYC to FRA and found the cabin to be cramped, but arrived fairly well rested. Then, six months later, I had an opportunity to fly HEL-KIX in Y on an AY A350 and found the experience to be far superior.

  23. Joe Flyer Guest

    787 is obviously a superior and more modern plane.
    1. Higher cabin pressure.
    2. Nothing else matters.
    Oh and buy American. US airlines that don’t should get zero gov bailouts.

  24. Matt Guest

    I have only ever flown on the 787 once and that was with Virgin from LHR to SEA. The seats were cramped and hard, and I spent the 10 hour flight shoved up against the window thanks to the football player sitting next to me. The outbound flight on an ancient Delta 767 was far more comfortable by virtue of the wider and plusher seats. It doesn't matter how nice the aircraft is the passenger...

    I have only ever flown on the 787 once and that was with Virgin from LHR to SEA. The seats were cramped and hard, and I spent the 10 hour flight shoved up against the window thanks to the football player sitting next to me. The outbound flight on an ancient Delta 767 was far more comfortable by virtue of the wider and plusher seats. It doesn't matter how nice the aircraft is the passenger experience will be dictated by the airline's product. I have never been on an A350 but am looking forward to doing so when Covid is in the rear view mirror.

  25. Disco2020 Guest

    I much prefer heavy and larger wise body jets with straight or almost straight walls. That is why economy or PE was bearable at the window on a a380, MD11 and 747, but less so on an a340/50 or 787. Most of the newer jets seem to have narrow and curving walls.
    I hope they sell more 777xs, as otherwise I will have to travel business class minimum long haul. Such is the discomfort on the narrow and light new jets.

  26. KK13 Guest

    @Ben @Nat — They fly already.

    I flew by Qatar 350-1000 from JFK to Doha, last December.
    QR flies two metals per day, the morning flight was 350-1000. I also flew by 777-300ER DOH-BOM, both Qsuites.

    I prefer flying by 350-1000; it’s roomier, quiet, feels fresh, has electronic shades, individual humidity control etc.

  27. kq747 Guest

    Ben; Im a little bemused by your comment about Y on the A350 v 787. Have you actually flown Y on either on a long haul flight?

  28. skedguy Guest

    Wait until those lovely high quality quiet RR engines start blowing up like they have done on the 787 he he. Wonder if there is a noise difference between the RR 3 stage engine on the 787 and the 2 stage GENX . No smart a** comments about of course they are because they are grounded most of the time

  29. Erick Guest

    @JB I had kind of the same feeling the first time I flew on a A350. Could not believe how quiet it was...
    Since it was on Cathay the experience was even more enjoyable thanks to their fantastic service ;-)

    I have been reading since that this is mostly thanks to the engines and, should it be the essential reason for that level of comfort, other machines should probably be able to benefit from...

    @JB I had kind of the same feeling the first time I flew on a A350. Could not believe how quiet it was...
    Since it was on Cathay the experience was even more enjoyable thanks to their fantastic service ;-)

    I have been reading since that this is mostly thanks to the engines and, should it be the essential reason for that level of comfort, other machines should probably be able to benefit from a similar noise reduction I would expect.

    But as a noise sensitive person I still need the Bose no matter what. LOL. However an A350 definitely makes the experience more enjoyable than a 787 even if the air quality is superior in the 787 :)

  30. JB Guest

    Agreed i prefer A350 over 787. The first time i took off in an A350 i thought there was something wrong with the place, it was so quiet! Then before i knew it we were in the air!

  31. Grant M Guest

    Having flown both aircraft a few times, I prefer the A350 as while both are quite similar (unless you're squeezed into economy which sucks no matter what you fly), I can never get a GPS signal in a 787, even with my tablet or phone held to the window. In the A350 my system gets a signal as well as I do on a 737, A330, etc. Given I like to fly with my EFB...

    Having flown both aircraft a few times, I prefer the A350 as while both are quite similar (unless you're squeezed into economy which sucks no matter what you fly), I can never get a GPS signal in a 787, even with my tablet or phone held to the window. In the A350 my system gets a signal as well as I do on a 737, A330, etc. Given I like to fly with my EFB running on my tablet to monitor air routes, locations and way more details than the usual moving map on the IFE, the lack of GPS signal is a real turn off.

    I suspect the cause may be related to the wire mesh worked into the 787's carbon fibre fuselage as part of its lightning protection measures. Such a system would create a giant faraday cage sufficient to prevent weak GPS from getting through while the electro-dimmable windows probably don't help either.

    Using the baro-altimeter on my watch, I've seen that cabin pressure is similar between the two with the 787 typically giving 1,000 to 2,000 feet lower interior altitude at cruise (every little bit helps :) ) and the A350 being a bit louder near the windows than the 787. That said, neither are as quiet as an A380 in cruise but both have much better windows & views than the A380 :)

    All up, if I can travel in an A350 instead of a 787, I will go the A350 all the way just for the AvGeek factor :) :)

  32. bigbirdwithsilverwings Guest

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/20/business/boeing-dreamliner-production-problems.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

  33. Ksa63 Guest

    For what it’s worth cabin crew I have spoken to largely prefer the 787 over the 350 because of the galley size. The 350 galley, especially the front galley, is very small and doesn’t have much work space they say.

  34. Reaper Guest

    @Jeff, “ I’m curious, though, why repost the same old post?”

    When you’re stuck in darkening, cold, COVID shutting down Germany, you either recycle old posts or hope someone behaves badly on a plane with video!

  35. Jay Guest

    @Singh

    Why so triggered? This is an opinion piece about passenger comfort. Chill out.

    Anyways I've been on both many times in Y. My order of preference for seat comfort: JL 787 > A350 >>>> All other 9-abreast 787. From a noise perspective, A350 wins.

  36. Jinxed_K Guest

    I think JAL had a slight edge with the 8 abreast 787 longhaul economy, but after moving into PE and business class seats, it matters much less.
    The tail camera made me feel like I was back in the 80s when the 747s had the nose camera.
    I was able to catch a ride on the A350 to Fukuoka last October. https://i.imgur.com/idJr69K.jpg

  37. Silver Arrows Guest

    Bleedless cabin air on the 787 is a great benefit over the bleed air on the A350. I don't miss jet fuel vapors in the cabin.

  38. SBS Guest

    I've flown on both planes, and to me specific configuration matters more that the plane model. 8-abreast economy in JAL 787 with loads of leg room was great, better than 9-abreast economy on 350. Window side APEX suite on JAL or Polaris on United 787-10 are also great, at least as good as reverse herringbone on 350. Haven't been in Q-Suites, so can't compare to those. French Bee has 10-abreast economy on 350 - that...

    I've flown on both planes, and to me specific configuration matters more that the plane model. 8-abreast economy in JAL 787 with loads of leg room was great, better than 9-abreast economy on 350. Window side APEX suite on JAL or Polaris on United 787-10 are also great, at least as good as reverse herringbone on 350. Haven't been in Q-Suites, so can't compare to those. French Bee has 10-abreast economy on 350 - that is a configuration I will avoid at all costs, the only comfortable 10-abreast economy is/was on 380, maybe 747.

  39. Ted Guest

    Quiet is fine, but I actually like the sound of the GEnx engine spooling up to full power at takeoff on a 787. It’s almost as good as a GE90 on a 777!

  40. TM Guest

    @GoAmtrak, I agree about the Neos... 2-4-2 seating with the quietness, humidity, pressure levels of the A350 would be unrivaled in widebody Y seating. Do Neos have the cameras to see outside as well? My first opportunity to fly in one would have been in J with DL back in March but Covid had to go and ruin all the fun.

    I will say I do really like the dimming windows of the 787...

    @GoAmtrak, I agree about the Neos... 2-4-2 seating with the quietness, humidity, pressure levels of the A350 would be unrivaled in widebody Y seating. Do Neos have the cameras to see outside as well? My first opportunity to fly in one would have been in J with DL back in March but Covid had to go and ruin all the fun.

    I will say I do really like the dimming windows of the 787 but I agree that they should still include the traditional shade. I love being able to watch something on the IFE and still be able to see outside without all the glare.

  41. PeterN Guest

    It doesn't matter if the seat is 17 or 18 inches wide - I fit just fine in either, than you very much! What really matters is seat pitch and here the individual airline can decide how horrible your experience should be.
    As far as noise is concerned, a really quiet cabin just treats you to more noise from screaming kids and moronic passengers. My Bose headset fixes all of that.

  42. GoAmtrak Guest

    The post was slightly updated for the COVID era. Maybe the new comments engine will make these old posts less unwieldy. ;-) And yes, no question on any of these points. I'm also eager to see how much of the A350's technology makes it into the A330neo from a paxex perspective. THAT plane will probably be the gold standard for comfort in Y going forward.

  43. Jeff Guest

    I actually was thinking about this old post today. I have to make this decision for an upcoming trip.

    I’m curious, though, why repost the same old post?

  44. john christmas Guest

    My preference, has nothing to do with how pretty they are but more about "management ethos"
    In recent times it has become apparent that the Boeing management has driven for speed and greed. Every day there is something coming to light about this managements ability to fool the FAI into agreeing with their opinion. We all now know the extent they went with the 737 max8, ignoring engineering staff and internal warnings. Now there...

    My preference, has nothing to do with how pretty they are but more about "management ethos"
    In recent times it has become apparent that the Boeing management has driven for speed and greed. Every day there is something coming to light about this managements ability to fool the FAI into agreeing with their opinion. We all now know the extent they went with the 737 max8, ignoring engineering staff and internal warnings. Now there is debri found in the 787 fuel tanks, what next? With this in mind, nothing to do with the staff, I now travel to avoid Boeing aircraft where I can. So for me it has to be the A350, with a management team and country governments more committed to safety.

  45. Fred Guest

    Looking forward to trying out both of these. Maybe I can find a round trip that lets me fly both transatlantic.

  46. Lynn Goss Guest

    I'm with you! I've never flown on a 350, but I would if I could. I HATE the 787's dimmable windows! I felt cheated, just as you described, regarding the stars, and, in my case, the Pacific islands, on a 787 flight SYD-SFO, leaving SYD mid-day. Just as you said, the United Airlines crew decided I didn't need to see anything outside even though I'd booked a window seat for just that purpose. I strictly avoid 787's as a result.

  47. Martin Guest

    The dimmable windows of the 787 are annoying.

    I booked a window seat although it was mainly a night flight, simply because I like to see the stars and the enlightened cities down below. No chance on a 787 if the crew decides you should not see anything.

    Then after sunrise, which you also can't enjoy, disgusting blue light and a strong heat from the window. It was never a problem to let the sun...

    The dimmable windows of the 787 are annoying.

    I booked a window seat although it was mainly a night flight, simply because I like to see the stars and the enlightened cities down below. No chance on a 787 if the crew decides you should not see anything.

    Then after sunrise, which you also can't enjoy, disgusting blue light and a strong heat from the window. It was never a problem to let the sun shades open at dark on any other plane or airline and never felt heat with traditional shades.

    Nonetheless, rarely felt so good physically after ~13 hours of flight (Air France Eco CDG-TPE-CDG).

  48. Enderson Rafael Guest

    Interesting although not really comparable points: internal configuration is something unique to class and airline, making a 737 economy in CM better than the same class at a 747 LH, for example. Having said that, and agreeing that A380 is the most comfortable airliner ever, the B787 burns 1000kg less per hour than an A350 with the same load, what makes it an obvious choice for airlines. Not to mention the superior performance of the...

    Interesting although not really comparable points: internal configuration is something unique to class and airline, making a 737 economy in CM better than the same class at a 747 LH, for example. Having said that, and agreeing that A380 is the most comfortable airliner ever, the B787 burns 1000kg less per hour than an A350 with the same load, what makes it an obvious choice for airlines. Not to mention the superior performance of the Dreamliner: is not that unusual that the A350 has to leave with empty seats because it has reached its maximum take off weight before it reached its maximum zero fuel weight... what is the point of a comfortable empty seat, right? But the real point I would like to bring here is: the 787 uses cabin air compressors instead of the traditional engine bleed air of the A350, and this alone brings air quality in the cabin to a whole new level. Indeed the Airbus twin is quieter, not by much, and I love flying both - and have done it more than I can count - but the B787 really pushed the industry forward, whilst the A350 was more of the same in most aspects. Having opened nearly a thousand new city pairs, the 787 is a real revolution to serve people worldwide. And in the end of the day, is pointless to be very comfortable if your are not profitable - aka A380.

  49. M Guest

    A350 is my next target. Haven't flown on one yet. Maybe YYZ to MUC. Will head-to-head it, vs 787-8, which I enjoyed a lot (economy).

  50. James Guest

    Good article. I just landed in London after having taken CX170 (A350-9) from Perth to HK, then CX257 (777-367ER). I’m fortunate that I’ve also taken QF9 (787 Dreamliner) domestically a bunch of times. I travelled business today and in the past on QF9.

    Noise wise the A350 was noticeably the best, then 787 then 777. I can’t remember the 380 because it’s been years and years but I was stunned by the airbus. I...

    Good article. I just landed in London after having taken CX170 (A350-9) from Perth to HK, then CX257 (777-367ER). I’m fortunate that I’ve also taken QF9 (787 Dreamliner) domestically a bunch of times. I travelled business today and in the past on QF9.

    Noise wise the A350 was noticeably the best, then 787 then 777. I can’t remember the 380 because it’s been years and years but I was stunned by the airbus. I didn’t even use my noise cancelling headphones

    Layout - I prefer the Qantas Dreamliner business layout which everyone faces forward instead of the herringbone layout, simply because I felt like I was sitting in the aisle with the angled layout. Herringbone give a great view out the windows however.

    Either aircraft is pretty awesome and you can’t go wrong with either. I still remember flying long haul to Hawaii in empty 747s as a kid, back when you could sleep on the floor. How far we’ve come !

  51. Tim Owen Guest

    Having recently flown on a B787 from Melbourne to San Francisco I can categorically state that it is much noisier than a A380. I was not impressed about the hype that this aircraft had generated when first introduced. Can't wait to try a A350 to compare.

  52. M Guest

    Flew 787 Air Canada to Europe. Beautiful plane. I'm not tall or fat, so the economy seats are fine for me. I hardly sleep, so window blinds are a non-factor (I use blindfolds or dark sunglasses). And noise? I found 787 to be a treat compared to A340, 747, and every other Boeing (haven't been on an A380, but I dispute the claim that it is quieter than a 787). I would pick a Boeing 787 over any other Airbus anytime, for a trans-oceanic flight. Cheers.

  53. Lynn Goss Guest

    I HATE that the flight attendant crew can dim my window on the 787! I reserve a window seat so I can see out, but on a United flight recently SYD-SFO, mid-day, they dimmed all of the windows so that practically nothing could be seen out the window. I have sworn off 787's for that reason.

  54. Arthur Guest

    I would really highlight to ALL THE BOEING FANATICS that the A350 is NOT A COPYCAT PRODUCT. First of all, the A350 was meant to be a competitor for the 777 family, and not the 787. (The nose was based on the A380 and improved through computational fluid dynamics, as Airbus has already stated). The A350 is also not a warmed over improved A330-2/300, it is a completely new cleansheet design. The fusealge is a...

    I would really highlight to ALL THE BOEING FANATICS that the A350 is NOT A COPYCAT PRODUCT. First of all, the A350 was meant to be a competitor for the 777 family, and not the 787. (The nose was based on the A380 and improved through computational fluid dynamics, as Airbus has already stated). The A350 is also not a warmed over improved A330-2/300, it is a completely new cleansheet design. The fusealge is a complete redesign, bearing no similarity to the A330 family. The hydraulic systems were implemented from an improved 5000 psi
    in the A380 over the typical 3000psi because of the lack of reliability of the Lithium Ion batteries at the time, something that grounded the 787 fleets around the world.

    The wing is a definite design from scratch and offers a relatively low wing loading over the 787-9's wing, which is practically maxed now out as it is. Boeing would have had to redesign and modify the wing if they wanted an MTOW (maximum take-off weight) increase for the 787-10 to stretch its range and payload. The A350 also has a gust load alleviation system that reduces effects of gusts and turbulence just like on the 787 that has ALREADY EXISTED ON THE A380. The flaps on BOTH 787 and A350 can be deployed to change the wing shape during anytime in flight to counter turbulence and increase wing efficiency at any given point in time.

    The bleed air system is old, but it was avoided due to risks the plagued the 787 and wasn't deemed as so much of an advantage that it would render bleedless designs obsolete. If the engine is faulty, and there is an oil leek, bleed air for that engine will be turned off. Besides, there is no way for oil to get into the bleed air system because it takes it off the IPC, at the FRONT of the engine and not at the combustion chamber where the fuel is mixed in. The A350 very likely has preventative methods against contaminated air getting into the cabin, and bleed air has yet to be actually proven to be unhealthy by the scientific community. The reason you smell the fumes at all in any aircraft is because of tail wind during stand still that blows exhaust into whatever inlet it can find, so the 787 wouldn't exactly escape this problem either, as it still uses air from its surroundings. The bleedless design doesn't make the 787 more efficient either because all the equipment in the aircraft STILL NEEDS ELECTRICITY. So attached generators which are heavier and harder to spin need to be attached to provide pneumatic services and electricity. And the air still needs to be compressed, and as it doesn't use bleed air, so a generator has to compress it itself and requires electric power. These things ALL DEDUCT FROM ENGINE EFFICIENCY. The generator also adds weight and maintenance costs.

    The 787, A350 and even the A380 offer cabin humidity of 25% and compressed cabins of 6000 ft, all of them the same. No superiority of air taken freshly from the outside and all electric systems on the 787. Please do your research.

    As for sound, every individual is more or less sensitive to specific frequencies, as well as amplitudes, so perceived loudness will differ from one passenger to another. But, measuring equipment has stated that the A350 has cabin noise of 57 decibels, equivalent to a normal conversation, and is only second to the A380, which has an even quieter cabin. But from perception, everyone will have their own opinion. Noise levels are greatly affected by the position you are sitting in. At the wing, the noise will be blocked by the wing, but the wind around the wings and fuselage will make a lot of noise and in terms of levels, will sit somewhere in the middle. The back is the loudest because you can hear the air being shot out of the engines, while the front will be quietest as the only noise will be slight engine noise at take off and only wind during cruise. This is true for ALL AIRCRAFTS which have their engines under the wings.

    Lastly, despite being larger and heavier and the 'not-as-good-or-efficient-as-the-787' aircraft the A350 will burn the same amount of fuel on similar routes and payloads as the 787-9, and mind you the 787-9 is 89.7 tonnes lighter at empty weight.

  55. Tim Richard Guest

    The A350 is just a glorified A330, no real new technology, just engines. They even had to rework the design and call it A350 XWB because of the criticism of not being anything but a re-engined A330. Yes it is a nice new plane and they did a lot of improvements. The 787 gets much better fuel economy, the narrower body, composites, and electric flight controls among many other innovations put the A350 to shame....

    The A350 is just a glorified A330, no real new technology, just engines. They even had to rework the design and call it A350 XWB because of the criticism of not being anything but a re-engined A330. Yes it is a nice new plane and they did a lot of improvements. The 787 gets much better fuel economy, the narrower body, composites, and electric flight controls among many other innovations put the A350 to shame. From a passenger stand point these are valid points. I have flown on the 787 multiple times and the shaded windows work like a charm. The seat configuration depends on the airline. But also the 787 is the plane that connects most of the cities that couldn't be connected before. The A350 is just a competitor for the 777 and replacing aging 777's because of fuel economy. 777x will compete more directly with the A350 but will have the 787 advancements. The A350 falling between the 2 Boeing planes in terms of capacity.

  56. Claude Pour Guest

    You forgot 1 point very important on the B787:
    Oxygen doesn t come from the engine and it doesn t exist on the airbus.

  57. Dwight Looi Guest

    The 787 is designed as a tight nine abreast 3-3-3 or a generous eight abreast 3-2-3 or 2-4-2. The majority of airline chose nine abreast and the correspondingly lower economy class fare. There are some -- ANA is an example -- that fly the 787 in eight abreast configuration for economy class. Expect to pay 10~20% more for those economy seats.

    The A350 is designed as a very tight ten abreast (3-4-3) or a modest...

    The 787 is designed as a tight nine abreast 3-3-3 or a generous eight abreast 3-2-3 or 2-4-2. The majority of airline chose nine abreast and the correspondingly lower economy class fare. There are some -- ANA is an example -- that fly the 787 in eight abreast configuration for economy class. Expect to pay 10~20% more for those economy seats.

    The A350 is designed as a very tight ten abreast (3-4-3) or a modest nine abreast (3-3-3). Again, it is up to the airline how they want to configure (and price) their economy class.

    The same thing can be said of the 777 which is a normally operated with a very decent nine abreast (3-3-3) economy, but can be configured for 10 abreast where is tighter than an A350 nine abreast but not as tight as the extremely tight 10 abreast A350. Many airlines are going to 10 abreast to offer a lower priced product while promoting Premium Economy for passengers willing to pay a bit more for comfort. Ten Abreast 777s include those operated by Emirates, EVA Air, British Airways, United Airlines and many more to come.

    Before we start complaining, we should take a step back and contemplate the fact that we can fly across the Pacific and back for $600. Oh, and you get a meal and beverages with that, plus a movie or two to watch. No, it isn't 1st class on the Titanic, but it doesn't cost you a few months wages either. Besides, there is always Premium Economy for 50% more or Business Class for 500% more.

  58. ChrisH Guest

    Low capacity? In what world is a roughly 10% difference enough to make that statement. Typical capacity of a 747-400 is 416 seats. A350s ranges from 315-387. 30 Seats makes the A350 low capacity. Even the 787 can hold 290-330.

  59. cbw Guest

    You forgot one very important aspect of these new aircraft! Reliability! Anyone who has been a regular on some of the older widebodies but is now a regular on a 787 or a350 can attest to the fact that these newer airplanes are far more reliable. At my airline the 787 has surpassed the 777 as far as reliability goes... I never thought it was possible.

  60. Timothy Edwards Guest

    100% agree with this article after having recently experienced Qantas latest 787 and Finnair latest A350, the A350 wins hands down (in economy class).

    In my opinion, the 787 has higher frequency vibrations in mild turbulence (very common to experience) and the increased flex of the carbon fibre shell means the interior plastics tend to rub and squeak. This combined with the windows not really blocking out the sun, and what felt like a...

    100% agree with this article after having recently experienced Qantas latest 787 and Finnair latest A350, the A350 wins hands down (in economy class).

    In my opinion, the 787 has higher frequency vibrations in mild turbulence (very common to experience) and the increased flex of the carbon fibre shell means the interior plastics tend to rub and squeak. This combined with the windows not really blocking out the sun, and what felt like a very narrow seat, meant I couldn't get any rest on the Qantas flight. I spent the whole time missing the A380 which feels like a luxury ocean liner in comparison.

    In comparison, the Finnair jet was quieter. I was 4 rows from the back in economy and for once I didn't need earplugs to sleep (until that baby started crying). I was able to close the window properly, and the near constant (mild) turblence on the leg from Singapore to Helsinki felt like a gentle rocking. I slept.

  61. Andrew Denholm Guest

    I know why I prefer the A350 over the 787. I’ve never bang my head on a protruding door actuator loading cargo and baggage’s cans on an A350 where as on a 787-900 I did it three times last night.

  62. DT Guest

    Hi Lucky,

    The seatmap for SQ's new 787-10 (SQ618 to Osaka) is out. Counted 301 seats as per the below news article and unfortunately, it's the dreaded 3-3-3 layout, which is basically the same as their LCC-Scoot. So disappointing.

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/sia-to-operate-its-first-b787-10-to-osaka-from-may

  63. Joe Solomkin Guest

    Done 4 or 5 trips in each aircraft in business OZ, DL, KQ KL. For vague reasons I can't really verbalize, I prefer the 787. The cabin feels a bit wider, perhaps the A350 a bit quieter. They are great aircraft, and the seating and happiness come from the cabin layout and fittings, and the culture of the flight attendants. Delta vs. Asiana. Asiana every time.
    They are both gorgeous aircraft, amazing smoothness, quietness....

    Done 4 or 5 trips in each aircraft in business OZ, DL, KQ KL. For vague reasons I can't really verbalize, I prefer the 787. The cabin feels a bit wider, perhaps the A350 a bit quieter. They are great aircraft, and the seating and happiness come from the cabin layout and fittings, and the culture of the flight attendants. Delta vs. Asiana. Asiana every time.
    They are both gorgeous aircraft, amazing smoothness, quietness. 14 hours on a night flight turns into a desire to get off the plane, and not much can change that.

  64. Mark Guest

    In coach/economy - no comparison A350 is miles better there is far more space . The 787 is very uncomfortable with your shoulder pushing against the wall or passenger next to you.

    To be frank when I'm flying couldn't care less about economics , technology , etc. only care about the comfort so I steer clear of the 787.

  65. Nate Guest

    I'm not objecting to these points, as they're based on your experiences. But, with the exception of the window shades, all the points you mention are either dependent on the airline's configuration itself or where you're sitting in the plane. Regarding the tail camera, that's common on practically every a350. However, Singapore Airlines, which is arguably one of the best airlines in the world, actually doesn't have a tail camera on its a350. Even though...

    I'm not objecting to these points, as they're based on your experiences. But, with the exception of the window shades, all the points you mention are either dependent on the airline's configuration itself or where you're sitting in the plane. Regarding the tail camera, that's common on practically every a350. However, Singapore Airlines, which is arguably one of the best airlines in the world, actually doesn't have a tail camera on its a350. Even though that's the only airline that I'm aware of that chose to forgo the a350 tail camera, it's clear that that is an airline choice. The size of the seat is even more of an airline choice. Perhaps in general, a350 seats are larger due to the wider cabin width, but even then, it's still an airline choice. How the cabin is configured (2-4-2 vs 3-3-3, and what the seat pitch is) is entirely up to the airline. Finally, in terms of noise, the more forward you are in the plane and/or the further away you are from the skin of the aircraft (like if you're sitting in the middle of the middle row as opposed to a window seat), the quieter the flight. Perhaps the a350 does better, but if anything, a lot of the advantages you're talking about are more functions of the airline and seat location than the aircraft itself.

  66. Fred Guest

    I fly transatlantic routes approx 14 times per year from the UK and have done for the last 5 years.

    Like the cars we drive, I like to understand what I am trusting my life with 28 times every year.

    Here's what I know as a simple layman. Not many of us passengers know how poor the air we breath on flights is and how much it's damaging our health. Or how many...

    I fly transatlantic routes approx 14 times per year from the UK and have done for the last 5 years.

    Like the cars we drive, I like to understand what I am trusting my life with 28 times every year.

    Here's what I know as a simple layman. Not many of us passengers know how poor the air we breath on flights is and how much it's damaging our health. Or how many cabin crew and pilots suffer with health issues from blood poisoning to respiratory issues every year - it's huge. (I believe this is one of the biggest cover-ups in modern aviation)

    Ever sat on a plane and suffocated because of the stench of plane-fumes in the cockpit? You're being poisoned. The plane you're sitting on - which is the same for every plane in the world EXCEPT the Boeing 787 - draws in the 'fresh' air your breath through the engines.

    As the engine combustion process happens - some air goes into the engines - the rest is diverted to provide air we breath. If the engine is faulty - leaking oil etc then that makes its way into the air we breath.
    (Av geeks chill your beans - I know I've simplified this pneumatic process considerably but the fact remains)

    So for me - by flying on a Boeing 787 - which doesn't get cabin air from the engines but instead from dedicated filters under its belly - you're ultimately saving your life.

    Agreed on comments above - Boeing put passengers first and 'bet the family silver' on developing new technology that we the passengers should be thanking them for.

    Every other plane in the world - airbus350 included - is a copycat product - where airbus openly admitted on cost grounds they wouldn't copy the 787 design.

    For me it's simple. Health comes first. Travel isn't going anywhere. The more people who know this the better. We should be applauding an American company for putting the consumers health and well-being first. Rather than airbus building a cheap product that allows us to travel fractions of a dollar more cheaply - but kills us in the process.

    That's my take. Hope that makes sense to fellow passengers.

    Fred.

  67. cass Guest

    I have to say I take Qatar airways from LHR too HKG every 2 months, the Humidity and nose control !! A350 & a380 definitely win!!

  68. Andreas Guest

    This article is incorrectly biased.

    I can't understand how the commentator does not take into consideration the simple fact that that Airbus merely studied the 787 and copied it accordingly to suit their interests. Yet he moves on with his comparison as if both airplanes were presented at the same time. Amazing, just amazing.

    If it wasn't for the 787, the A350 would be of no existence. Simple as that

    Next time

    1. zing Guest

      exactly my point
      with 787 boeing really pushed the bar
      350 just copied at mimimal risk
      sort of iphone samsung story
      but i was snubbed saying this article is merely about passenger comfort
      as if the knowledge of an airbus 330 droping from sky has nothing to do with passenger comfort
      so my take is this is article is skin deep writen by and for shallow people consuption not a rigrous evaluation of two products

  69. Nathan Guest

    Ive not flown in a 787, but i have recently flown in an A350 from the UK to Brisbane (Around 18 hrs in total) and i have to say its a great aircraft. Its roomy, love the landing gear/tail cam feature, its comfortable, flies so smoothly (flew through turbulence and hardly even recognised it) and I think it just looks great too. Would definetly like go in one again.

  70. Patrick Le Floch Guest

    I definitely agree on the silence factor. I've flown both 787 and 350 and it is possible to carry a conversation with a flight attendant (and me sitting) in a 350 without yelling. I actually recall removing my noise-cancelling headphones on that 350 flight because they were unnecessary. 787, has a window in the toilets, which is nice.

  71. borgia101 Guest

    I just flew 787 from Rio to Casablanca. I booked a window seat just to be able to "play" with electronically dimmed window shade. I thought it was great until the morning sun came up: although all windows were dimmed, you could feel all the heat comming from the sun, so after two hours I was begging for an old style shade!

    1. john russell Guest

      Good to read an American commentator praising the A350! Over here in the UK we have got used to the totally partisan bias from the American media. To my mind they both deserve all the credits given, I personally would choose the A350, but then I have been on both!

  72. Chase Wiles Guest

    So, regarding the previous comments...

    Which airplane is better for passenger comfort without considering the interior seat configuration in the decision?
    Boeing 787 due to its superior cabin air and pressurization system.

    Which airplane is better for passenger comfort based on the operating airlines current interior seat configurations?
    Airbus A350

    Which airplane may airlines prefer if they can afford it?
    Boeing 787, or whether the airlines want to buy an American...

    So, regarding the previous comments...

    Which airplane is better for passenger comfort without considering the interior seat configuration in the decision?
    Boeing 787 due to its superior cabin air and pressurization system.

    Which airplane is better for passenger comfort based on the operating airlines current interior seat configurations?
    Airbus A350

    Which airplane may airlines prefer if they can afford it?
    Boeing 787, or whether the airlines want to buy an American (with global suppliers) or European product.

    Which airplane is a better airplane for the airline?
    That depends on the route, fuel costs, and the airlines budget.

    Which airplane is more advanced technologically?
    Perhaps the Boeing 787, but the Airbus A350 also has some unique design elements of its own.

    Finally, I want to conclude with saying that no airplane should be judged based on the current airlines interior configuration because that is able to be changed and customized at any moment.

  73. Steve Guest

    Love the 787, love the clean air, love the fresher feel after a 12 plus hour flight, love not having a dry throat and eyes during flight, love American made. I fly 500,000 miles plus each year and 787 is my first choice, 777 my second. The A350 was built to compete with the 777 not 787. 787 is king of its class as the 777X will be also.
    I have worked in Aviation...

    Love the 787, love the clean air, love the fresher feel after a 12 plus hour flight, love not having a dry throat and eyes during flight, love American made. I fly 500,000 miles plus each year and 787 is my first choice, 777 my second. The A350 was built to compete with the 777 not 787. 787 is king of its class as the 777X will be also.
    I have worked in Aviation as Maintenance Engineer for past 30 years. Airbus is cheep and Boeing is quality. 737 vs A319, 320, 321 or 787 vs A330 Neo, 747 Intercontinental vs A380 or 777 and 777X vs A350. I just spent 6 months in UAE with the airlines in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Both have reservations with the A350 for maintenance reasons and actual efficiency. One is going 777X over A350 while the other has delayed their A350 purchase.
    On the maintenance perspective I will take a Boeing any day of the week,

    1. Aftdeck Guest

      I think I would call call the 787 American "assembled", not American made.
      http://www.businessinsider.com/graphic-boeing-787-dreamliner-suppliers-2013-1

    2. john russell Guest

      Yes I agree but so is the A350, its French assembled but NOT French made.

  74. john russell Guest

    Before you all choose which one, I would suggest you watch "Broken Dreams" by Aljazeera on you tube-the 787.

  75. Vishwas Guest

    The Boeing 787's biggest advantage over the a350 is the minimum cruising speed. The b 787 can cruise 30 knots faster decreasing flight time. I have flown on the b 787 Executive class(Business class) and in the middle hours of the flight the airline auto dimmed the windows to max. There was no light coming inside the cabin. In flight the b 787 has a humidity level of 40% which is better for the passenger...

    The Boeing 787's biggest advantage over the a350 is the minimum cruising speed. The b 787 can cruise 30 knots faster decreasing flight time. I have flown on the b 787 Executive class(Business class) and in the middle hours of the flight the airline auto dimmed the windows to max. There was no light coming inside the cabin. In flight the b 787 has a humidity level of 40% which is better for the passenger health and feels more homely compared to basically any other aircraft in the world. However the two aircrafts should not be compared because they have different advantages and disadvantages depending on the airline route requirement. Example:B 787 can cruise 30 knots faster shortening flight time while the A350 XWB is cheaper to fly by $0.67 per nautical mile carrying more passenger at the same time.

  76. Dare Guest

    Wow... some of you are really off track. Lucky's article is strictly about the "Feel" of these two aircraft from a passenger perspective.

    So many of you go off on tangents about engineering, systems and materials that the common passenger doesn't know nor care about. All they know is how it feels when they sit their butt in the seat for 10 hours staring at a ceiling and cabin walls.

    Superior engineering, blah,...

    Wow... some of you are really off track. Lucky's article is strictly about the "Feel" of these two aircraft from a passenger perspective.

    So many of you go off on tangents about engineering, systems and materials that the common passenger doesn't know nor care about. All they know is how it feels when they sit their butt in the seat for 10 hours staring at a ceiling and cabin walls.

    Superior engineering, blah, blah. If that's all that mattered, then the composite body electric BMW i8 should be the best selling sports car in the world, but it isn't, because it doesn't "Feel" like a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi R8, etc.

    Lucky, thank you for a great article about flying both aircraft from a well versed passenger perspective.

    1. Bruce Seitanides Guest

      That couldn't have been put better

  77. augias Guest

    the noise level is a very good point. The other 3 are not, in my opinion: I have never found the lack of window shades on the 787 to be an issue at all (I wear eye shades anyway and don't find the windows of the 787 that bright when dimmed). In fact, it's one of my favorite features, and my friends who have flown the plane liked it too. So this is a personal...

    the noise level is a very good point. The other 3 are not, in my opinion: I have never found the lack of window shades on the 787 to be an issue at all (I wear eye shades anyway and don't find the windows of the 787 that bright when dimmed). In fact, it's one of my favorite features, and my friends who have flown the plane liked it too. So this is a personal preference, and I suspect the people having issues with them are in the minority.
    The 9 across seating on the 787, isn't really a fault of the plane but of the airlines, who are incessantly coming up with new ways to punish us. Wait until they'll cram 10 across on the A350 :-)
    The air quality and humidity etc is far superior on the 787 as was pointed out, and that for me is the deciding factor- i'll fly a 787 over any other plane, any day, because of how much better my throat feels when I land.
    I'm sure that B787 and A350 are similarly safe as aircraft and that each airline will crunch their own numbers on fuel efficiency and operating cost etc. That is going to determine which plane wins out, in the end.

  78. Ballet Brice Stephane Djedje Guest

    If you are very serious about your health, the 787 must be your choice. Flying on the 787 means that I am taking care of my life. Clean and pure air are only available on the 787. This is a winner over the 350

  79. Singh Guest

    shallow content article
    350 was a catch up game to 787

    787 was truly innovative plane, modern materials to fuel efficiency
    Boeing took a big risk and pulled it of

    Same suppliers supply airbus as boeing so once it is made copying is super easy these days

    Not that I am a big fan of aviation industry as whole as Materials 787 adopted were out there for like 20y

    ...

    shallow content article
    350 was a catch up game to 787

    787 was truly innovative plane, modern materials to fuel efficiency
    Boeing took a big risk and pulled it of

    Same suppliers supply airbus as boeing so once it is made copying is super easy these days

    Not that I am a big fan of aviation industry as whole as Materials 787 adopted were out there for like 20y

    380 is a product management disaster and was in no way innovative it takes for ever to get in get out requires airports to refit ... list goes on no wonder all orders are drying up

    i am not european or american so in no way i am biased but boeing in general has a impecable safety record
    have you ever heard of a boeing 777 droping from sky mid flight, its peer 330 yes ...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447

    infact all major airliners complain of numerous problems 330 gives, if read you would never fly one

  80. Bodger Cummingiton, Jr. Guest

    Range, cost of operation (fuel efficiency and service intervals and maintenance) for airlines and pressurization, air quality (humidity and temperature), head room, lighting, width, speed, for passengers. All objective measures not subjective as are your metrics. Spend a little more time thinking through the problem and you'll find that perhaps you are wrong. Thanks though

  81. YAN STIERNET Guest

    Totally agree! I am no Airbus Fanboy, flying 737NG'S for a crappy Airline, But I do prefer the 350 to the dreamilner, even for it's aestethics, altough the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Now it will be another story when comparing the 330 NEO which has a smaller fuselage diameter Than the Dreamliner and comparing The 350 with The 777 X witch has a larger fuselage diameter than the 350 but well,...

    Totally agree! I am no Airbus Fanboy, flying 737NG'S for a crappy Airline, But I do prefer the 350 to the dreamilner, even for it's aestethics, altough the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Now it will be another story when comparing the 330 NEO which has a smaller fuselage diameter Than the Dreamliner and comparing The 350 with The 777 X witch has a larger fuselage diameter than the 350 but well, For now I am just In a hurry to see the 350 dash 1000 complete with engines, Great article! Cheers.

  82. justaircraftdude1953 Guest

    At 63,I'm a newbie aviation enthusiast,so what is A350's takeoff speed to 787?

  83. docdot Guest

    I like yourself, have also flown A350 & B787 on QR & A380.. on every airline except Korean and Emirates (A380). I have to say i don't find the A380 that comfortable unless your in First Class apartment in Etihad- the cabin conditions especially downstairs (MAS) at front are way too dry air- when compared to 787 and A350. Whilst I agree with you on Qatars versions of A350 and B787, i like how it...

    I like yourself, have also flown A350 & B787 on QR & A380.. on every airline except Korean and Emirates (A380). I have to say i don't find the A380 that comfortable unless your in First Class apartment in Etihad- the cabin conditions especially downstairs (MAS) at front are way too dry air- when compared to 787 and A350. Whilst I agree with you on Qatars versions of A350 and B787, i like how it is wider and the options they have gone for. But all in all it depends solely on the options the airline chooses, an example is the complete opposite is flying VN airlines B787 is way better in Business class than their A350. VN went with very few options on their A350 such as no overhead Air vents which I like in economy. There is also no enhancements such as mood lighting. In terms of economy class for the 787 - Oman Air, Hainan and China Southern even AZAL have really comfortable seats compared to Qatar which fix you in place with annoying headrests. .I also have to say 787-9 the windows do go much darker as noticed on JAL. So my point is it really does depend what options airlines choose, I was even told by senior Vietnamese management that the comfortable air condition lower pressure is an option by Airbus not as standard like 787. They choose not to have it. When talking to cabin crew across all airlines, they all seem to be Team Boeing, they all hate the airbus and have to say based on service, which my job is to judge the service is a less efficient on A380.

  84. Sam Vance Guest

    For clarification, the EFB screens on the A350 are the two most outboard on the front panel. On the 787, they are off to the sides next to the steering tillers.

  85. Sam Vance Guest

    As a 787 pilot, I appreciate the A350 EFB "electronic flight bag" over the one on the 787. I have looked at the pictures of the A350 and the EFB looks much bigger, brighter and higher resolution than the 787 screen. I also like the viewing angle (in line with the front screens) vs the 787 EFB which is down and to the side, especially in a bright sun situation. This is important when shooting...

    As a 787 pilot, I appreciate the A350 EFB "electronic flight bag" over the one on the 787. I have looked at the pictures of the A350 and the EFB looks much bigger, brighter and higher resolution than the 787 screen. I also like the viewing angle (in line with the front screens) vs the 787 EFB which is down and to the side, especially in a bright sun situation. This is important when shooting an approach, transitioning from the HUD to looking down and cocking your head to an angle to read chart information. On the Airbus, the glance would still be down, but the reading angle more closely matches that of the HUD and PFD "primary flight display".

  86. James Long Guest

    I've flown recently on a Finnair A350 and I think it is certainly one of the best aircraft I have been on. I travel predominantly long haul on 777's and the occasional A380. The A380 is definitely quiet but for some reason does feel a bit "last generation" on board the ones I have been on - don't get me wrong, it's hugely impressive but I actually feel quite cramped, both on the upper and...

    I've flown recently on a Finnair A350 and I think it is certainly one of the best aircraft I have been on. I travel predominantly long haul on 777's and the occasional A380. The A380 is definitely quiet but for some reason does feel a bit "last generation" on board the ones I have been on - don't get me wrong, it's hugely impressive but I actually feel quite cramped, both on the upper and lower decks when I compare it to a single deck aircraft. The best thing is the silence and smoothness of the A380.

    For me, the 777 is a good aircraft but it's definitely noisier and I notice that I come off it feeling more jetlagged than on the newer planes.

    The A350 however fixes what I don't like about the other long haulers. It's silent, I'd say more so than the A380. It's spacious - weirdly so when you get on and once the overhead bins are shut. The ceiling height feels high compared to the A380 and certainly the 777. In turbulence I felt that it would hit a patch and then it would quickly smooth out - I am not sure if this is by design or if it was just the type of turbulence that we hit but the ride was definitely smoother than I had experienced before. The lighting on the A350 is clever too and I definitely felt that the air was noticeably cleaner - on landing after 10 hours I didn't have the dry eyes and skin I associate with long haul normally. If I was being picky, I have never understood why Airbus has gone to the effort of making their newer aircraft near silent only to have the flap extension/retraction sound likes it's happening inside the cabin! Admittedly it's only for a small portion of the flight but it's loud - probably more noticeable because it's generally so quiet.

    Also, for Finnair specifically I have to say the toilets were very 1990's. Why invest in brand new aircraft and then clearly skimp on the toilets? They weren't nice. We flew on the newest one (LWF) out and it was at least clean and new (not new style, just new old style). On the first A350 (LWA) on the return leg the toilet was horrible and it was only 11 months old! The plastic was cracking, things looked dirty and worn - they really have saved some cash in the loos on Finnair!

    Overall, definitely my favourite aircraft to fly on. Not tried the Dreamliner but the 3-3-3 does put me off with reports of it feeling cramped. I'm not rushing therefore to try it.

  87. Karl F. Guest

    It looks like some of the last comments reveal a serious lack of aerospace insight. First, many of the systems that were developed for the A350 were first undertaken for the A380 and was improved upon for the A350: IMA (Integrated Modular Electronics); AFDX (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet); double-hydraulic/double-electric (2H/2E) flight-control architecture and the variable frequency electrical generation system philosophy 5000 psi hydraulic system - this, just to name a few of the innovations brought...

    It looks like some of the last comments reveal a serious lack of aerospace insight. First, many of the systems that were developed for the A350 were first undertaken for the A380 and was improved upon for the A350: IMA (Integrated Modular Electronics); AFDX (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet); double-hydraulic/double-electric (2H/2E) flight-control architecture and the variable frequency electrical generation system philosophy 5000 psi hydraulic system - this, just to name a few of the innovations brought forward by the A380. The electro-hydraulic actuators on the A380/A350 are not just electrically controlled (pretty much all actuators on these planes are), but also electrically driven. That is the new aspect there. The self-contained hydraulic component effectively just acts as a local transmission, replacing mechanical gears with pumps and cylinders for practical purposes, but it's an electric motor doing the actual work. Only with the 787, did Boeing introduce similar systems. Thus, Airbus had the opportunity to take the whole system architecture from a rather recent ircraft (the A380) that had the latest electrical design with non gearbox generators etc. If Airbus had decided to go "bleedless" on the A350, they would have had to develop something totally new, with it's risks - which was obviously not worth it for the seemingly rather miniscule gains achieved with the 787. Also, how bleed air is used on aircraft has moved on from the DC-8/707 days in a pretty dramatic fashion. Boeings most recent system architecture before the 787, was the 777 with its old style gearbox fixed frequency generators (etc.). They wanted to upgrade and went the whole way, while incurring significant more risks along the way.

    As for the "bleedless" architecture of the 787, one should note that energy is not free. If energy is removed from the engine, it must have been generated by the engine. The removal of the energy that is converted to electricity - that could have been otherwise used to turn turbines - does have an impact on efficiency, as well as sizing of the engine. Pneumatics is a known mature technology, both for manufacturers and regulatory authorities. Removing pneumatics does not remove the need for the functions that they do - they were replaced on the 787 with electrics. The electrical system then becomes critical from a regulatory point of view, so much so that it helped cause significant delays. What you need to look at is the total system's efficiency, including weights, complexity and efficiency of all the pumps and actuators downstream. When you're drawing power from the shaft, you automatically divert both compression again and possibly thrust (depending on which one you're tapping). Shaft power isn't free either. It moves several additional systems to the electrical domain. That is a simplification on one side, but it's also a complication on the other (a major one, apparently, regarding pressurisation and air conditioning). The question is the resulting balance between the two. The global system views will have to compare. Efficient power extraction becomes irrelevant when you're losing the advantage in distribution, re-conversion and added redundancies.

    In short, it will make sense to go "all-electric" when the OEM's develop an airliner having engine features such as an electrically distributed propulsion system*. Believing, therefore, as "RW" is doing upthread - that Boeing somehow is "20 years ahead of Airbus" - is nohing but completely unprofessional (Boeing) fanboy drivel.

    * http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/news-media/media~item=be674db0-2b69-42f6-946a-03cf3b0eef32~.html

    -

    As for the large fuselage "panels" on the A350 vs. the “full barrels” on the 787 - we’re still talking about “black metal” adaptations for composites. Hence, neither the 787 and A350 are really fully optimised for carbon. Taking full advantage of carbon means much less use of fasteners (i.e. by at least an order of magnitude) and co-curing not only stringers with the fuselage skin - as it's done on the 787 and A350 - but co-curing/integration of the skin/stringer assemblies with the fuselage frames as well. The problem is, that doing all this on a 787-type “full barrel” does not seem to be very practical at all - that is if you want to fully optimise carbon for aircraft manufacturing. Furthermore, large composite fuselage panels have an added advantage that their properties can be fully optimised (i.e. lighter) to whether they are side, crown or belly panels. Also, manufacturing large panels generally include easier handling, smaller and less expensive autoclaves (etc.) than what’s the case for a “full barrel”. So, the 787 “full barrel” fuselage sections may, in fact, look like another technological dead-end. Here's one concept that differs significantly to the 787 "full barrel":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgbr8uOaiVY

  88. Jill Guest

    On the dreamliner can breathe better it seems.Its also quieter than a320 and b777.But in turbulence I found the dreamliner very rough.The wings look too small and seeing the wings moving is a bit distressing.The a330 and a380 seemed better in turbulence than the dreamliner or maybe it was just very bad turbulence that I experienced .I've never been on a350 so no comment.

  89. Mortimer Duke Guest

    Setting aside hyperbole and subjective bias which seems to be this piece's prevailing constituent components, any reasonable person would acknowledge 787's vast superiority regardless of however individual carriers may choose to equip and implement them which almost always becomes the primary criterion from which people choose their preference - purely as a passenger rather than an operator or societal member. If Ryanair were to adopt an all-A350 fleet, its vomitus-stained carpets, humming lavs and back...

    Setting aside hyperbole and subjective bias which seems to be this piece's prevailing constituent components, any reasonable person would acknowledge 787's vast superiority regardless of however individual carriers may choose to equip and implement them which almost always becomes the primary criterion from which people choose their preference - purely as a passenger rather than an operator or societal member. If Ryanair were to adopt an all-A350 fleet, its vomitus-stained carpets, humming lavs and back breaking seats would have the world singing 787s praises in unison.

    Regardless of all other criteria, 787 is superior simply because flying aboard it is less dangerous. It's higher cabin pressure and true fresh air filtration mitigate DVT, airborne pathogens and other potentially life-threatening phenomenon. 787's superior ambient comfort merely is a bonus further in Boeing's favor. Presuming all other characteristics meet the basic operational and economic requirements of both carriers and passengers, all else is secondary but not unimportant.

    787 is a quantum-leap design to which Boeing needed to commit years before having anyone else's practical experience to draw upon. Boeing not only developed the road map, it simultaneously needed to invent topography and geography on which the map would be based - betting the come that carriers and the buying public would buy into its decade-long and scores of billions wager.

    Of course it had teething pains. All first-to-market revolutionary products do. None have been beyond the scope of reasonable expectation and each is being resolved in methodical Boeing fashion. In bringing 787 to market, Boeing assumed costs and risks with which no subsequent maker need concern itself.

    By contrast, Airbus had the benefit of Boeing's investment in defining both the leading and bleeding edge at its disposal. Eschewing massive investments to deploy a composite fuselage, Airbus could freely chose where and where not it should invest and make business decisions which reflected the known quantity of strengths and challenges which 787 provided from the vanguard which 787 never had. Several more years of historical technological advances at its disposal and billions more to invest in engines have helped A350 to establish superior fuel efficiency - if not operating economics. The same is true of every other trade-off Airbus was able to weigh.

    These purely circumstantial advantages yielded some tremendous benefits to Airbus. In a rush to meet the surplus of demand which Boeing hadn't already garnered, A350 coopted an A330 boilerplate. Despite being a perfectly sound business decision which would help Airbus meet the two most important priorities of speed to market and relative cost (despite A350 remaining considerably more expensive), it chose evolutionary over revolutionary at all others' expense - especially the public whom its planes are meant to carry.

    In delivering highly fuel efficient point to point capacity relatively quickly, A350 is a resounding success - despite how Airbus has delivered and the petroleum crash negating a huge portion of the benefit every other A350 compromise was made to make possible. That's great for FY 2016 and 2017. But what will the results be for customers and THEIR customers twenty years from now when each will have carried millions and operators are at a decision point about the next generation of commercial aircraft? Will Airbus's 20th century cabin air engineering even comply with 2030 regulations?

    Furthermore, which maker's plane will have done more to advance commercial air travel by funding tomorrow's quantum steps like Boeing already has taken? Airbus is a wonderful maker of "me too" products. With the exception of Antonov's penchant for smashing through mass and capacity records and Airbus's penchant for cockpit joysticks, only one true innovator exists behind which the rest of the world, including Airbus, aligns itself. Even A380 came nearly 40 years later than the Boeing which defines the segment.

    In a similar vein, one also should consider the nature of both businesses and how they've come to exist. To no small extent Airbus is the subsidized marketing arm of the European Union and rarely has competed on an even playing field against others daring back to Lockheed, Douglas, Fokker and BAe's existences. Only Boeing had sufficient critical mass to innovate and compete based almost entirely upon the profits it earned from the value it created throughout.

    Unfortunately, on the heels of the GM and (to a lesser extent) Chrysler bailout, one no longer can assume Boeing's future depends solely upon its own abilities. Nevertheless, its past and present are largely devoid of the direct political and economic favoritism which saw Airbus emerge from regional consortium to global eminence. When making their own travel decisions, passengers should want and do all they can to support businesses that create value rather than consume it as everybody benefits from the former and the latter exists at everyone's expense.

    787 and A350 both are perfectly capable aircraft which can meet their operators' basic needs and passengers may enjoy virtually unprecedented comfort aboard either, though 787's enviornmental systems and turbulence mitigation capabilities can deliver health and comfort advantages which A350 simply cannot. The former benefits all passengers and the latter only those who otherwise would've encountered turbulence. But only one plane represents a true advance in the art and science of air travel and has a demonstrated of delivering as much as it can rather than as little as it must.

    Global air travel may need Airbus and A350 to fulfill unmet demand, but it wants Boeing and 787.

  90. R W Guest

    This article and some of the comments are completely ill-informed. The 787 is the most advanced plane on the market and the result of billions of dollars of R&D in designing a next generation airframe. The a350 was developed as a knee-jerk reaction by Airbus as a direct result of needing to offer a similar competitive product to Boeing.

    Only it isn't similar. The a350 is an updated a330 with smaller technological upgrades -...

    This article and some of the comments are completely ill-informed. The 787 is the most advanced plane on the market and the result of billions of dollars of R&D in designing a next generation airframe. The a350 was developed as a knee-jerk reaction by Airbus as a direct result of needing to offer a similar competitive product to Boeing.

    Only it isn't similar. The a350 is an updated a330 with smaller technological upgrades - composites, wings, engines and controls.

    The only really important reason why Boeing is now 20 years ahead of Airbus and why the 787 is superior is because it doesn't use 'bleed-air' to pressurise and provide cabin air. Boeing chose to re-invent the wheel completey (putting you the passengers first for a change!) resulting in cabin air being sourced from the underbody of the plane through a dedicated air filtration system - essentially meaning when you fly 787 (aka Dreamliner) you aren't breathing in air that has passed through the first stage of the combustion process via the engine. One of the primary reasons cabin crew, pilots and regular flyers suffer from health problems from effectively mild blood poisoning from contamination of air sourced via this process. Airbus openly stated it wouldn't invest in this process on 'cost' grounds.

    This alone is why the 787 is worlds apart. To be arguing about 1" seat difference in economy has nothing to do with the plane. That's an airlines specification choice - not Boeings.

    In addition - to suggest less noise on the a350 without doing any testing is really just plain ignorant.

    If I had 250 million bucks lying around - I'd order a 787 any day of the week. Airbus have built a technically inferior product. Boeing now have a 20 year lead to refine technology Airbus couldn't be bothered to invest and explore. Time to sell those Airbus shares.

  91. Alex Guest

    Airbus win again

    Par the 777, Airbus Aircraft dominate over Boeing.

    And proof again, havent been on the A350, and will be flying the 787 later on this year, on a transatlantic flight. But from what I hear, and A350 is flying miles ahead of the 787. I was looking at some figures, yes the 787 Has slightly more baggage room, and range. But the A350, looks extremely more comfortable and wider.

    Looking foward to trying the 787, but I already expect the A350, to be better

  92. Charles Guest

    If only Airbus could deliver a few 350s more of us could try them. Over 450 787s in the air - how many 350s? What I want to know is which one is more fuel efficient? Enough side by side ops to give us an answer - but the airlines seem to be mumm.

  93. Albert Hu Guest

    Just to be fair to the Boeing planes, as to the 777's, however, I had a very different experience where the planes I flew had very airy and quiet cabins. The only drawback was the seat arrangement where these cabins were laid out in a 3-4-3 (rather than a 2-4-2) format. Both companies strive to make good planes and I can't wait to board both A350's and 787's to experience the latest in air travel!

  94. Albert Hu Guest

    I have yet to fly either one of the new A350 or 787 but my previous experience as a passenger on both Airbus and Boeing planes was as follows:

    1) The Airbus planes' cabins were more comfortable, especially in terms of air circulation and ventilation, i.e. more airy cabins;
    2) Although airlines tend to place more seats in each row, many Airbus planes tend to offer a more passenger friendly 2-4-2 seating arrangement where...

    I have yet to fly either one of the new A350 or 787 but my previous experience as a passenger on both Airbus and Boeing planes was as follows:

    1) The Airbus planes' cabins were more comfortable, especially in terms of air circulation and ventilation, i.e. more airy cabins;
    2) Although airlines tend to place more seats in each row, many Airbus planes tend to offer a more passenger friendly 2-4-2 seating arrangement where any passenger does not have to cross over more than one other passenger to get to the aisle;
    3) From the A300's to the A330's that I flew from 1980 through 2015, these planes were more quiet, in terms of cabin noise, than the 707's through 767's that I flew from 1979 through 2015. When one of the airlines that I flew last year changed the plane last minute from an A330 to a similarly sized 767, I immediately felt the downgrade in passenger comfort, friendliness, and cabin quietness.

    These are my two-penny input. Thanks.

  95. YC Guest

    Support A350XWB since 2012!!!!!
    ;)
    :)

  96. Joe G Guest

    I've flown on both and the A350 was more confortable. Not having a computer under every seat, this provides more leg room than the 787. Also interior seems more spacious and nicer on the A350.

  97. Lediard Guest

    I once went into the cockpit of a BA Boeing 757 (this is back in the good old days). He liked Boeing as Fords' that go on and on for ever and Airbus he liked as Mercedes. Now that I'm over 60; I know what I'd choose.

  98. Nicola Siotto Guest

    Landed on this page as I am evaluating a trip to Boston through QR on a DOH-BOS A350. Never took an A350 so far but I did fly on a B787-9 on KLM and the comfort was outstanding. Probably first time in life I could sleep in Y class. Air quality was superb, quiet, large screen, dimmed windows. Some told me it depends from the airline and I truly believe this. Having 9 seats per...

    Landed on this page as I am evaluating a trip to Boston through QR on a DOH-BOS A350. Never took an A350 so far but I did fly on a B787-9 on KLM and the comfort was outstanding. Probably first time in life I could sleep in Y class. Air quality was superb, quiet, large screen, dimmed windows. Some told me it depends from the airline and I truly believe this. Having 9 seats per row doesn't promise more comfort but now I am curious to try and will revert back here with my experience.

  99. Colin Campbell Guest

    Air New Zealand 787 would have to be the worst jet aero plane I have ever endured. Noisey, cramped, seats designed for a bmi of 25 , floor vibrates so much I had to stand on my pillow to stop pins and needles in my feet. Arm rests are two fingers wide. Aisles so narrow you have to dance sideways up them.
    Whoever dreamt of dreamliner name was surely dreaming. This krap plane was built for profit not comfort. Never again give me Airbus anytime

  100. Jonathan Caterino Guest

    Wow - can't believe that I came across this article so late. I agree with Gerard's comments. My company manufacturers the avionics for both aircraft and I have had consistently better in-flight experiences (noise, atmosphere, comfort and smoothness) on the 787 over the 350 when the 787 is fitted with the GenX. The Trent on the A350 and the 787 appear quieter up front but the three-spool design creates a high frequency noise in the...

    Wow - can't believe that I came across this article so late. I agree with Gerard's comments. My company manufacturers the avionics for both aircraft and I have had consistently better in-flight experiences (noise, atmosphere, comfort and smoothness) on the 787 over the 350 when the 787 is fitted with the GenX. The Trent on the A350 and the 787 appear quieter up front but the three-spool design creates a high frequency noise in the economy cabins that many passengers have complained about and something that we have continuously measured.

    I would fly a 787 with the GenX any day. If using the Trent, I would fly on the A350 - the aircraft contains more acoustic padding to isolate sound whereas the GenX has more sophisticated noise signature mitigating technologies to reduce the noise generation upfront.

  101. Kieran Guest

    So nice to see a decent article from Lucky, and one I completely agree with to boot.

    I took the advantage recently to fly both the B787 and A350 multiple times, across short haul and long haul sectors, on Qatar (in Business Class).

    I liked the A350 much more - even though the Business cabins are mostly similar.

    My favourite thing is the cute toliet door knobs on the A350, which add a touch of class (the 787 has the traditional knob type).

  102. Gerard Tremeaux Guest

    As an engine designer for a major turbofan engine manufacturer, an aircraft qualification engineer, and an aviation aficionado, I actually have some disagreements with the points in this post. My company provides engines to both Airbus and Boeing so I don't have any conflicts-of-interest. Frankly, I want both aircraft designers to buy as many of our engines as possible. These views are based upon my colleagues' and my experiences with both aircraft during qualification and...

    As an engine designer for a major turbofan engine manufacturer, an aircraft qualification engineer, and an aviation aficionado, I actually have some disagreements with the points in this post. My company provides engines to both Airbus and Boeing so I don't have any conflicts-of-interest. Frankly, I want both aircraft designers to buy as many of our engines as possible. These views are based upon my colleagues' and my experiences with both aircraft during qualification and commercial service.

    The biggest criticism that I have about the 787 is its reliability and endless delays; but as a technology, it is expected because it is very simply the future of MEA (more-electronic aircrafts) and really the next generation. Yes, the A350 provides fewer difficulties (although I must mention that there are many glitches, which are just not as highly publicized in the media), it is not exactly ground-breaking but more an iteration of the existing technology. However, the glitches with the 787 are slowly being sorted out.

    My colleagues and I prefer flying the 787 on any long-haul flights - but there is a caveat. Being engineers and developers from our company, airlines always provide us with premium cabin space. Boeing did not want its economy class customers to have 9 abreast seating originally, but the economics make it too attractive for the airlines.

    Although the economy cabin on the A350 may have more room, I think there are three very important factors, which are essential for the physical well-being that the Boeing 787 excels at and the A350 simply does not: 1. Higher cabin pressure preventing DVT and improving the respiratory and circulatory functions of the body, 2. Higher cabin humidity preventing dryness, fatigue and migranes, and 3. an independent (non-bled from engine) and true HEPA climate control system for further comfort and better respiratory function. All of this translates into a physiologically more comfortable flying experience and is something that my friends, colleagues and I can definitely sense over the 800,000 or so miles that each of us fly with airlines throughout the year for work.

    I have heard some criticism of the shutter-less windows, but I have also heard an equal number of people who like them (such as me). Personally, the small amount of light that bleeds through never disturbs me on my daily trans-Atlantic flights. Furthermore, in my experience, the choice of engines defines the noise levels inside the 787 - generally my flights on the 787 have been quieter than the A350 (and I know this because a noise exposure meter is something I am allowed to carry with me) with most of the noise attributed to wind shear and not the actual engine.

    Lastly, all of our high-altitude tests have shown that the 787 is superior at dampening turbulence (largely thanks to its higher operational ceiling and the pliant supercritical wing design along with the active turbulence mitigating algorithm which makes slight manipulations of the control surfaces on the 787-9 and the expected 787-10 (this cannot be achieved by the lower speed hydraulics used on the A350).

    To be honest, I think both aircraft are a win/win for the passenger in terms of cheaper flights between more destinations. However, from the technical perspective of an aerospace research engineer, the 787 is the future of aviation while the 350 is a stepping stone for Airbus towards the 787. Which one would I actually fly? Neither, since I am only licensed to fly the older twin aisles (747-400, 777-200LR, A330-300 and A340-XXX). Which one would I travel on? Doesn't matter as long as its up front.

  103. Rico Guest

    Which airlines are retrofitting their 787s with blinds? Does anyone know if the blinds are placed in addition to the dimming system or as a substitution? I feel like this system is great for when stubborn passengers insist on having their shades open at inconvenient times; the crew can just dim all windows at once without having to ask person by person.

  104. KK Guest

    I flew on QR's A350 and 787 on the same trip so I could compare them side by side. I agree with you on all counts and I would pick the A350 over the 787. I was in the business class cabin on both flights and you could definitely tell that the A350 felt more spacious. The dimming windows on the 787 sounds cool in theory but its a pretty impractical and stupid idea.

  105. Claus Guest

    I actually like the 787 windows. When all windows are dimmed, the cabin has this bluish, otherworldly glow. Like traveling deep below the ocean. Love it.

  106. Paul Guest

    Airbus have admitted that at least one customer has ordered their A350 with 10 abreast seating in economy, which will probably be just as bad, if not worse, than 9 abreast on the Dreamliner. Wouldn't surprise me if many carriers retrofit their A350s with 10 abreast at a later date - just like how every airline had 9 abreast on their B777s initially, but now 10 abreast is the norm.

  107. Bruce Seitanides Guest

    @paul pope

    The A350 has only been delivered to 4 airlines (Singapore is next!) and most airlines like Qatar, TAM, Vietnam, Finnair don't have first class products (excluding TAM and Qatar as they want to add them only to their ultra long-haul fleet e.g 777, A380) and so many airlines have 787s! For sure when Etihad takes delivery of their A350s they will configure them with their new cabin products (Business Studio, new First Class)...

    @paul pope

    The A350 has only been delivered to 4 airlines (Singapore is next!) and most airlines like Qatar, TAM, Vietnam, Finnair don't have first class products (excluding TAM and Qatar as they want to add them only to their ultra long-haul fleet e.g 777, A380) and so many airlines have 787s! For sure when Etihad takes delivery of their A350s they will configure them with their new cabin products (Business Studio, new First Class) but for now we just have to wait until Airbus releases the -1000 variant and then airlines will add first class. I would still always pick the A350 to the 787 though!

  108. Bruce Seitanides Guest

    @Antonio C.

    I totally agree. Airbus is all about going the extra mile, even if it's just on tiny details the ordinary traveller might not notice (apart from economy class seat width!) The window dimmers on the 787 seemed cool but in reality they were just impractical. I would pick the A350 over the 787 as it hasn't experienced any major problems yet and I would feel safer flying it. Also, who doesn't like quiet aircraft?

  109. Todd Guest

    Having flown both types multiple times with the almost identical QR interior, I completely agree with Ben, albeit in reverse order of importance as to how he listed the 4 items. I feel that Airbus really thought hard about what truly makes a difference to passengers, and delivered on it, while Boeing focused on cramming as many people in and creating needless frills for their marketing brochures. I agree with Paul above: the A350 is better quality.

  110. paul pope Guest

    My experiences with the 787 been on Jetstar 787-8 Business (once ...it's like premium economy...and complete rubbish) the Etihad 787-9 (first class .... 4 times practicaly identical hard product to 777-300ER and A340-500) and Qatar 787-9 in business class (which is identical to their A350 business class).
    On the A350 I have only been on Qatar (twice in business class) and Finnair once (biz class).
    I would suggest the planes are very close...

    My experiences with the 787 been on Jetstar 787-8 Business (once ...it's like premium economy...and complete rubbish) the Etihad 787-9 (first class .... 4 times practicaly identical hard product to 777-300ER and A340-500) and Qatar 787-9 in business class (which is identical to their A350 business class).
    On the A350 I have only been on Qatar (twice in business class) and Finnair once (biz class).
    I would suggest the planes are very close on most aspects. The 787 feels more "hi-tech" to me with that wing flex looking awesome, it has better bathrooms and a lower angle of attack on take off which makes it seem smoother. The A350 has easily more room all around, it has a almost flat ceiling which gives a real impression of space and its easily quieter in operation ... paticularly at cruise (which is odd given the A330 is one of thea noisest most annoying aircraft out there for noise levels and pitch of that noise).
    But A350's don't offer first class on long haul so for now I'd choose a Etihad 787 but when Singapore gets their A350-900ULR's with suites class it is going to be a no branier win to the A350.

  111. Antonio C. Guest

    Living in Qatar gives me the chance to try both B787 (Stockholm, Copenhagen, Madrid) and A350 (Frankfurt, Singapore).

    Agree with Ben on the small details. There is something more than maybe could not be described with words, and it's a sense of 'better quality' in Airbus than Boeing.

    Don't get me wrong, both are great, it is just an edge of quality in A350.

    Maybe it's just me.

  112. wimt Guest

    Clearly Airbus. Boeing's are not nearly as quiet inside.

  113. john Guest

    I love the 787 windows and the fact that there are no shades. It is great to always see outside. Shades totally defeat the whole purpose of the dimmable windows. The 787 windows can be darkened sufficiently for sleep and watching videos. On the 350, people will now shut the shades rather than dim the windows. So why have dimmable windows?

    The most comfortable long haul economy seat I've experienced was on a VS 787-9....

    I love the 787 windows and the fact that there are no shades. It is great to always see outside. Shades totally defeat the whole purpose of the dimmable windows. The 787 windows can be darkened sufficiently for sleep and watching videos. On the 350, people will now shut the shades rather than dim the windows. So why have dimmable windows?

    The most comfortable long haul economy seat I've experienced was on a VS 787-9. In spite of a full plane with 3x3x3 economy seating, what made this seat so comfortable was the headrest. It actually supports the head. That is the only economy seat I can say that about. But that, like many of Ben's issues, is a matter of how an airline finishes the plane and not anything intrinsic to the airplane itself.

  114. Indian Guest

    I almost typed you get a complimentary emergency landing with B787, oh well a A350 just had cabin pressure loss and emergency landing.

  115. Paul Rowland Guest

    I haven't been on the planes yet, but from what I can see I would prefer the 787, I like to keep my window blind open when flying, yes it annoys people but then they should have booked a window seat. I love the view of a sunrise/sunset from a plane, why do airlines force us to shut the blinds when it isn't a normal time to sleep according to the place we are heading/leaving?...

    I haven't been on the planes yet, but from what I can see I would prefer the 787, I like to keep my window blind open when flying, yes it annoys people but then they should have booked a window seat. I love the view of a sunrise/sunset from a plane, why do airlines force us to shut the blinds when it isn't a normal time to sleep according to the place we are heading/leaving? I do look forward to flying on both planes but in the mean time look forward to your reviews.

  116. Steven Guest

    I don't understand the gripes about the 787 windows. I've flown the type quite a few times now, including several long haul flights, and the cabin has always seemed just as dark with the windows fully dimmed as with traditional window shades.

  117. Ed Guest

    Sorry last a number should be a380

  118. Ed Guest

    @carlos

    Clearly you need to fly an A330. 2-4-2 in economy with a nice wide seat. I think I'd always pick an a330 in economy if available and if a similarly configured a330 upper deck economy were not available.

  119. Carlos Wa Guest

    My goodness, talk about being off relating to economy class. Both 787 and A350 are VASTLY SUPERIOR to a 777, 747 or A380... You have a lesser chance to be stuck in the middle sits. You have 0 (ZERO) chance of being stuck in the middle of a row of 5 seats (AA 777). I sorely miss my good old 767's 2-3-2 configuration.

  120. John Guest

    @Andrew F

    A380 is my favorite aircraft to fly on. I almost always go out of the way to fly long haul on A380 if I can! Business on Etihad is a great product I bet!! It'll be interesting to see how Etihad A380 experience is on a short haul from AUH to BOM. And you'll also get to use their lounge! <3

  121. Robbie Plafker Guest

    But isn't a cabin where you don't have to deal with the window shades being closed at the mercy of other passengers better than having the shades block all the light?

  122. John Guest

    @Ben

    I totally agree! A350 is superior to the 787. Flying in 787 economy is torture! The longer the route is the worse it gets.. doesn't matter if it is British Airways or Qatar or Air India or Ethiopian! All are painful

  123. John Guest

    @Andrew F

    I guess you are referring to A380 and not A350.
    But have an excellent trip..Etihad A380s are revolutionary and they definitely have reimagined flying! My best flight ever was AUH-JFK! Enjoy!!

    1. Andrew F Guest

      @john- yes. I actually struck the lottery there. Got both seats on points :) and what from I have heard the A380 is better than the A350. .but never flown either I am going to just savor the experience !!

  124. Andrew F Guest

    @Ben - following your blog, I snagged two business class seats for my wife and myself on the Etihad JFK-AUH-BOM end Aug/Sept return and will be getting to ride the A350 4 times !!
    Thanks Ben

  125. Ed Guest

    @John

    The A350 may be an incremental upgrade of an airframe with roots in the A300, however Airbus appear to have come up with an aircraft with superior comfort and comperable performance to the 787, with a much smoother and timely entry into service. As an engineer I'm going to pick the A350 for that achievement alone, no prizes for achieving much the same result with better tech.

    Probably what even more galling for...

    @John

    The A350 may be an incremental upgrade of an airframe with roots in the A300, however Airbus appear to have come up with an aircraft with superior comfort and comperable performance to the 787, with a much smoother and timely entry into service. As an engineer I'm going to pick the A350 for that achievement alone, no prizes for achieving much the same result with better tech.

    Probably what even more galling for Boeing is how close the A330neo will come to the 787 in performance at a much lower sticker price; that said Boeing can cry into their massive 787 order backlog so it probably doesn't sting too much.

  126. Stvr Guest

    "you can get a proper night of sleep in a dark cabin — cheers to that!"

    Didn't you grow up in Florida? Still on New Zealand accent?

  127. DCS Guest

    I do not feel that the relatively trivial and highly subjective basis for preferring one of these crafts over the other is worth a post...

  128. John Guest

    Not the fairest comparison, in that the A350 is a dressed-up A330. In size I believe it's closer to a 777. My vote goes to 787 because it's really something new and innovative, not a warmed over version of an older airframe.

  129. Owen Guest

    @Lucky We need a followup post to this one on how to detect the difference between the two jets when planespotting. There's the ridged cowling on the 787, but that doesn't even show up in your photos. From the front do we just need to memorize the windshield shapes? Is there another obvious difference? Winglets?

  130. Owen Guest

    @Wheels Up SEA

    I think JL went with 8 wide on their 787s except the short haul ones. But the Japanese are known for being wide butted heavy people and demanding a lot of personal space, so that makes sense.

  131. Owen Guest

    Aren't the A350 windows wider while the 787 windows are just taller than old airliner windows? I think wider windows are probably better if you want a view while taller ones might let in more light. Still, window shades are a great amenity; even the Canadair jets have them.

    How does the pressurization work on the MEX-NRT flights where MEX is actually above the pressurization altitude of the jet? Do you get on the plane...

    Aren't the A350 windows wider while the 787 windows are just taller than old airliner windows? I think wider windows are probably better if you want a view while taller ones might let in more light. Still, window shades are a great amenity; even the Canadair jets have them.

    How does the pressurization work on the MEX-NRT flights where MEX is actually above the pressurization altitude of the jet? Do you get on the plane at MEX and then your ears pop as the plane takes off because of rising pressure? That seems especially perverse. What if there's a MEX-BOG or MEX-UIO flight someday on one of these high pressurization jets? Do the passengers just suffer with high pressure through the flight and relax only on takeoff and landing?

    I think MEX-ADD would be a nice 787LR route someday. That's high altitude on both ends and regular widebodies couldn't make it.

  132. mike murphy Guest

    I did find the 787 seemed to have a bit more moisture in the cabin.

    as for the JAL 787 JL65 from san to nrt, no first class, same for JL707 nrt, bkk
    and the partial flat seats are not comfortable.

  133. Andrew B Guest

    I am dying to fly the A350, though the 787 is just fine to me. It seems interesting that the 787 was so hyped and appeared to take up so much of Boeing's energy and focus, whereas the A350 was almost kind of an afterthought for Airbus (which instead focused on the A380).

  134. Bill Guest

    Personally, this "comparison" seems fairly trivial to me. If I'm an economy passenger, I'm guessing that flight cost and perhaps schedule are going to be far more important than a little bit more noise, windows, tail camera, and even slight differences in always crammed economy seats; ultimately, I'd guess that it comes down to price versus seat width/pitch as a sliding scale. If I'm a business class passenger, I'd also guess that schedule and cost...

    Personally, this "comparison" seems fairly trivial to me. If I'm an economy passenger, I'm guessing that flight cost and perhaps schedule are going to be far more important than a little bit more noise, windows, tail camera, and even slight differences in always crammed economy seats; ultimately, I'd guess that it comes down to price versus seat width/pitch as a sliding scale. If I'm a business class passenger, I'd also guess that schedule and cost and route ease will trump any of the listed variables for. 99% of passengers; after all, business class offers eye coverings and ear plugs anyway, making the subtle differences in noise and cabin lighting relatively innocuous for most,

  135. Wheels Up SEA Guest

    It was Boeing's "intention" for airlines to configure the 787 8-abreast? No. They purposely left enough cabin width for the 9-abreast they knew practically every carrier would want, despite their mock-ups and glossy marketing photos of an economy cabin no passenger would ever actually experience. 17" is torture on a long haul flight. I will never select this aircraft if I end up stuck in Y on a long haul.

  136. Shay Guest

    Lol like lucky would ever fly coach (:

  137. Greg Guest

    You are spot on with this! I agree 100%

    I was trying to figure out why everyone was so excited about the 787. Unfortunately my experiences have been in poor 787 products (Japan Airlines business class 787 from YVR-NRT with the slanted not even flat seats)

    The A350 has been excellent, and is definitely my choice. Flew Finnair and thought that their product (I know not a Qatar) but still it is good too.

  138. Carlos Guest

    But what about the carriers, which do they prefer? Did the initial fiasco with the 787 batteries affect the sales? Are the companies buying more A350 for the tail camera, superior windows, better economy and quietness? Are they going neck to neck or do we already have a favorite?

  139. Robert Hanson Guest

    Haven't been on the A350, but the A380 SQ Suites was so quiet that I didn't bother to take the Bose noise-canceling headphones out of their case, even to sleep. That was a first for me. :)

  140. Chan Guest

    Can't wait for A350-1000 and 787-10 which (hopefully) airlines will retrofit first class on them. That's where the real differences can be seen.

  141. Mo Guest

    Can you make a list for the 787 over the A350?

  142. Ben Guest

    agree, a350 is so silent i almost could not believe it. that alone makes it vastly superior imho

  143. Stuart Guest

    @Nat - Qatar is starting DOH-JFK service April 1. I'll be on it two weeks later :)

  144. Ed Guest

    Whatever else anyone might think of Airbus planes, they almost always win out Boeing for economy passenger comfort. 12 hours in the back of a 787 is torture but, whilst not exactly my favourite, it is bearable, even moderately enjoyable in an A330 or an A380.

    I've not yet flown an a350, but I am keen to try. The Finnair experience looked lovely and I'm going to try and go that was from Aus to Europe next time.

  145. Nat Guest

    Are there any A350s ex-JFK?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Nat -- Qatar Airways will soon be flying the A350 between JFK and Doha.

  146. Richard Guest

    @Seattle Eric They are labeled correctly.

  147. Seattle Eric Guest

    @Ben

    The camera angle is deceiving in the photos of the aircraft; the A350 almost looks like a skinny 757 (but with big engines). Are those correctly labeled? Or, as I mentioned, is it just the lens/angle?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Seattle Eric -- Indeed labeled correctly, it's a very wide angle lens, which is why it looks so narrow, I think.

  148. K Guest

    How does the A350 shape up in terms of cabin pressurisation? I have only been on the 787 and for the first time in my life I didn't experience the excruciating ear pressure that I always do during descent.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ K -- Hmmm, I don't have serious issues in that department, but I found it to be roughly comparable.

  149. Benjamin Guest

    "4 Reasons I Prefer The A350 To The 787"

    "All that being said, I do have a preference between the two planes, and figured I’d share four reasons I prefer the 787 to the A350"

    I'm a little confused, Lucky! I guess it's a typo in the second example!

    Besides that, thanks for your point of view!

  150. RakSiam Guest

    "four reasons I prefer the 787 to the A350."

    Oops. Your introduction is backwards.

    I've not been on the A350 yet. My lone 787 flights was in TG C class which was not great at 2-2-2 config.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ RakSiam @ Benjamin -- Whoops, fixed. Thanks!

  151. Amtexfly Guest

    Which one do you prefer Lucky ; )

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Gerard Guilfoyle Guest

Whilst there is no argument on CFRP development for large components lead initially from the US. The production / assembly process is different with the A 350. There appears to be a slightly anti European bias here. Boeing has always been a big player and soaked up many companies in its wake.( not always for the best even for US companies) Boeing and Airbus build good aircraft. Quite insulting to quote,copying, Hyundai etc. Sometimes in the politico/business world the US has worked against European manufacturing. Isn’t it Euro/ Ukrainian/Russian built jet engines that got the US to the moon. Questionable statement historically on more extended reliable reputation. presently in the process of rebuilding that reputation.

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Captain W. Niece Guest

I've had the unique opportunity of flying both, and I prefer the 787! Boeing has a more extended, more reliable reputation in the industry, and I feel more comfortable supporting an industry leader than someone like Hyundai copies other successful companies!

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Mark Kennedy Guest

I feel the same way. I have flown on both the 787 and the a350 and I just felt a lot more comfortable on the Gulf Air 787 than the FinnAir a350. The 787 started it all; the Airbus just copied like they always do.

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