The Real Reason I’m Excited About The 777X

Filed Under: Misc.

Boeing has had a very rough year, so it’s nice to see that something at least went smoothly for them.

Boeing 777X Completes First Test Flight

Several days ago I wrote about how the brand new Boeing 777X was supposed to complete its first test flight in the coming days, and that did indeed happen on Saturday.

This was first supposed to happen on Thursday, and then on Friday, but it got postponed both days. The reason was because of the weather, and in particular because the plane could only take off with a maximum of 10 knot winds.

Don’t worry, that’s not a long-term restriction, but rather the limit was because the plane had to take off in the “wrong” direction of the runway based on winds, so that it could avoid populated areas. This was because it was the first-ever flight for the aircraft type.

The weather finally cooperated yesterday, as the Boeing 777X completed a 3hr51min flight, as it took off from Everett Paine Field and flew over Washington state, before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

During the flight, the crew worked through a detailed test plan to exercise the airplane’s systems and structures.

Boeing will have four dedicated 777-9 test airplanes. The first one will now undergo checks, and then will resume further tests in the coming days.

The plan is for the first 777X to be delivered to airline customers in 2021.

The Folding Wingtips Are So Cool

The 777X is an evolution of previous versions of the 777, though there’s one feature that visually makes the plane so cool.

The Boeing 777X has folding wingtips — on the ground the wingtips can be “folded” up to minimize the wingspan of the plane, and then before takeoff they can be extended, in order to improve performance.

Why does Boeing have folding wingtips? Because the Boeing 777X has a massive wingspan.

With the wingtips folded up, the wingspan is 212ft8in (64.8m), which is roughly the same wingspan as previous versions of the 777. This means that it can park at all the same gates as other 777s.

However, once extended, the plane has a wingspan of 235ft5min (71.8m), which is huge, and improves the aerodynamics.

The folding wingtips allows the 777X to basically operate at all the airports where other versions of the 777 could operate.

The Real Reason I’m Excited About The 777X

To me the 777X as such isn’t that exciting. The plane is certainly cool-looking, but for the most part it’s not really incrementally that innovative compared to the 787 or A350. Yes, it’s a bit bigger, but in many cases that’s not even what airlines are looking for nowadays.

The real reason I’m excited about the 777X is because many airlines will be using this as their new flagship aircraft, so we should see this plane used to introduce great new first and business class products.

In many ways, airlines have been lazy with the first and business class products they’ve installed on A350s and 787s. Most of them haven’t had first class at all, and a surprising number of airlines didn’t use these planes as an opportunity to truly innovate their onboard products.

The 777X should be a different story, as we’re seeing several airlines introduce exciting new products on these planes. Most notably, a vast majority of 777X customers will be installing first class seats on these planes.

Emirates 777X rendering

What products do we have to look forward to on the 777X?

Lufthansa’s new 777X business class

Bottom Line

Congrats to Boeing on a successful first 777X flight. Here’s to hoping that the subsequent testing goes well, and that the plane isn’t delayed further with entry into service.

While the 777X in general should be a good plane for airlines, what’s most exciting to me as a passenger is the new first and business class products we’ll see installed on these planes.

Is there any airline you’re particularly looking forward to flying on the 777X?

  1. I dont know. The majority of the program was carried out under the same Boeing leadership that botched the 737 MAX so badly. Do I trust them to develop another new plane iteration with even bigger complexity? Honestly, I dont. Who knows what nonsense they came up this time… I will certainly wait for a couple of years before flying it.

    Apart from that the current 777 is a magnificent airplane which I absolutely love. Everything about it feels good and is likeable. But that was a different Boeing and a different generation of engineers at work.

  2. The other big thing – a civilised 3-4-3 Y experience. Obviously not as good as the A380, but that little extra width should make it a lot better than existing 777s. Unless of course they find *just* enough space to suddenly go to 3-5-3 down the line like how they threatened to inflict upon us with the A380 (and thankfully failed in the process).

  3. Because it doesn’t have enough space for 11 across Y and 9 across PE, but is very spacious for 10 across Y and 8 across PE. Moreover, the 1-2-1 J configuration in a 6 meter wide cabin will be amazing. Let’s hope AC orders this in the future.

  4. @St. James– wait, the new 777x will be wider than the current ones?

    The opportunities for new Business / First cabins is great but a more comfortable Y class is equally important, especially as the plane will be used for long haul flights.

  5. @AT, yes, that’s what was said in the video. The *inside* will be wider while the *outside* stays the same.

  6. The 777x has the same dimensions but Boeing will use thinner insulation which should help with 4in more space, or maybe .4in per seat in Y.

  7. I’m most looking forward to the cabin pressurization and humidification upgrades first introduced on the 787. I still feel dried out after a long flight on a regular 777, even in F.

  8. Bad news for Emirates, unlike Qatar they aren’t in a major points alliance to help your status.

    So need to offer Me a much better business class to get me to go a couple of hours out of the way, otherwise why bother when BA are improving so much now?

  9. I used to love the 777 in Y with 3-3-3 seating but actively avoid it after most airlines have moved to 3-4-3. Looking forward to trying the 777x with a smidgen more width.

  10. I’m looking forward to the following:

    -Broadband internet
    -HD or better resolution external cameras, moving maps
    -Wireless charging
    -Technologies where passengers are “more in control” of their own environment such as being able to control the IFE, mood lighting and even seat firmness and temperature with your own device

    4K and bigger screens are pretty much a given as Panasonic has introduced their NEXT platform which is a above the ex3.

    Bluetooth audio should be in there as well where you’re able to use your own bluetooth headphones

  11. I wonder whether the 777X could be the next A380. Airlines have been moving to smaller twins for long range flights, and the relatively few orders for the X are primarily from the big 3 middle eastern carriers. It will be interesting to see whether it receives many more orders from other airlines after the initial batch.

  12. @NickSj

    Just my opinion, but while we can see some new customers on top of the initial 8, it won’t be a lot as the widebody market is much more fragmented with more choice compared to decades ago where you didn’t have much to choose from as well as airlines focusing more on point-to-point routes and frequency.

    But here are some carriers which I can see placing an order:

    -Philippine Airlines
    -Air China
    -Air Canada (oddball)

    While I can see EVA, Air France, KLM ordering some, it won’t be for a while.

  13. I am really not looking forward to the 777X, as I just learned that it will have the same awful dimming windows as the 787 and will be apparently as mind-numbingly loud as the 777. Boeing really doesn’t care about passenger comfort; you add the terrible Boeing cultural disregard for safety and my hope is that more airlines ditch the 777X in favor of the A350-1000.

  14. I would be worried during taxiing as a passenger if the wingtips were to get unfolded right before the takeoff

  15. So does current 777 pilots need two hours on an iPad and can magically fly the 777X?

    737MAX has MCAS.
    Get ready for 777X folding wings inflight.
    We all know why the 77X maiden flight got delayed over half year.

    Like the MAX vs classic. The 777X is nothing like the 777.

  16. Not sure sure that most carriers will try to make this different. Look at what British, Air France, and Lufthansa did on the 380. Positively zero anything special – just more seats. I look at how Emirates did go out of their way to make that product different and worth trying to fly on. The mainline carriers will just cram more seats in them. Maybe they would debut an eventual overhaul of their fleet, much like BA is doing with the 350, but I’d expect better hard products to end up in the rest of the fleet (that do not plan to retire anyway). (I’ll contradict myself as AA has Flagship First on the 777-300….so maybe so?)

    Further, I’m not so excited to see the same “profit is the only thing that matters” management launch another plane. Boeing is barely an engineering company anymore with one problem after another. The concept of “we’re going to run this like a business instead of being a leader in engineering” is costing them profits and trust. After seeing the problems and quality of the 787 and 737max, I’m not so ready to jump on a newly designed-by-bean-counters plane from Boeing.

  17. Simple math tells us that adding 4 inches to the cabin width doesn’t make up for cramming in that tenth seat and returning seat width to the original 18 inches. Let’s keep in mind that armrest and aisle width count too, not just the seat pan.

  18. The 777 is amazing and while seat width is being discussed keep in mind not everyone will experience it. Boeing is extraordinary. Has incredible capabilities and once she is on the runway and overcomes lift off challenges, she becomes the great white shark of the skies!

  19. I don’t know if there’s any merit to this but I read somewhere a couple of months ago that BA was planning on installing a new first class on the 777x. But as I said I don’t know if there’s any truth to those rumours. I hope they’re true

  20. I’m not that excited. Boeing’s last two planes, 787 and 737MAX, were poorly managed and both faced fleetwide groundings. Who knows what corners they cut this time? I want the 777X to prove safe and reliable before I consider flying on one.

  21. If Boeing went from 737 to 737 MAX, how do we know it’s not a similar case going from 777 to 777X?

    Meaning, they are patching and compromising features and safety.

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