New plane has designs on space and comfort
Fancy wider seats, more space for your hand luggage and arriving at your destination in better shape even when you travel economy class? It may just be possible on Boeing's newest proposed plane, the 7E7.
Following a modern design trend that does away with sharp edges, the interior of the new plane boasts smooth lines, giving the illusion of space.
In an experiment conducted by Boeing, the plane's curved entrance and softer lighting even fooled cameras into adjusting their automatic distance reading to infinity.
The lighting can be adjusted to resemble natural light at different times of the day - a red hue for sunrise, yellow for sunset and violet for nightfall.
As gimmicky as this may seem, it may help fool your body clock into adjusting itself to reduce jet lag.
What's more, the humidity in the cabin can be increased and the air pressure reduced from the usual altitude of 2,400 metres (equivalent to ski slope in Colorado) to 1,800 metres, which will allegedly give passengers a more refreshing journey.
These improvements are possible thanks to the use of a new composite material for the plane's body, making it more resistant to corrosion than previous models made with aluminium.
A few centimetres will be added to the width of a seat to give an economy class seat a width of 47cm.
Don't sneer at those extra centimetres as they come in handy when one needs to shift the body to find a more comfortable posture, says Randy Tinseth, Boeing's director of product and services marketing, commercial planes.
Even the aisle in the new Boeing is widened by a few centimetres, making it possible to squeeze pass the service trolley for that urgent call to the streamlined lavatories.
Advanced technology is also making it viable for Boeing to introduce wireless in-flight entertainment equipment to get rid of the big box required for the in-seat entertainment unit that is taking up precious leg room under the seats in the already cramped cabins.
There will be no need to worry if your roller executive suitcase does not fit into the tiny frame measuring carry-on baggage at the check-in counter, for the 7E7 has more spacious overhead lockers.
These lockers can also be removed when they are not in use to give an unobstructed view of the changing light displays on the cabin ceiling, creating an in-flight omni-theatre.
All these features conspire to make the 7E7 the most spacious aircraft yet in the Boeing stable.
If airlines buy into the claims that the planes are more cost-efficient to fly and perfect for a load of 200 to 250 passengers on a long-haul flight covering the distance from Hong Kong to New York, arriving in better shape may become a promise that is actually deliverable.
Alas, that day is still at least four years away.
Boeing has just begun selling the plane to airlines and the first ones will not be rolling off the assembly line until 2008.