777 vs 787: A Comparison of the Two Boeings

Aircraft · 7 min read · Nov 30, 2022
777 vs 787

The Boeing 777 and 787 are two of the most popular commercial airplanes currently in service when it comes to wide-body, twin-engine jetliners. For example, both planes are widely used by major airlines like United Airlines or British Airways for long-haul flights.

While they may be very similar from the pilot’s perspective, both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and which one is the better option for the airline industry business depends on several specific needs.

If you want to discover how the Boeing 777 vs 787 comparison plays out, we invite you to read below as we will take a closer look at both aircraft and compare different aspects of the Boeing 777 vs 787 battle such as fuel efficiency, passenger capacity, among other key features.

Fuel Efficiency

To start the Boeing 777 vs 787 comparison, we must say that the 787 is a more fuel efficient aircraft than the 777 thanks to its use of composite wings and more aerodynamically efficient design.

The 777 has a fuel consumption of 9 miles per gallon, while the 787 has a fuel efficiency of 11 miles per gallon. This 3 mile per gallon difference might not seem like much, but over the course of a long flight it can add up to significant savings.

For example, on a transatlantic flight from New York to London, a 777 would use approximately 3600 gallons of fuel while a 787 would use only 3200 gallons. That’s saving 200 gallons! This number represents an interesting amount of money given the current fuel prices, something that United Airlines or Japan Airlines, and other major airlines would not take lightly.

In other words, fuel efficiency is definitely a significant aspect for airlines when making the comparison of the Boeing 777 vs 787 since it is critical for long-haul flights where a higher fuel efficiency can result in significant cost savings. Moreover, this allows many airlines to offer lower fares on long haul routes.

Air Canada Boeing 777 landing on a clear day.

Passenger Capacity

The next step in this comparison must be the difference in passenger capacity despite both being wide-body aircraft.

Depending on the variant, the 777 can seat up to 396 passengers in a typical two-class configuration, while the 787 can accommodate up to 330 passengers in a similar layout. Therefore, if airlines need to transport more passengers, the 777 is the better option.

However, if the business model does not require to fill every seat on each flight, the 787’s smaller size may be more advantageous as it requires less fuel to operate.

This aspect is essential for airlines such as Singapore Airlines since it has seen more passengers buying tickets for routes connecting Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. In the end, the more passengers, the more money the airline can make.

Operational range

Continuing the comparison, we get to the aspect of operational range. This is another key factor many airlines consider when deciding which aircraft they want to operate.

Apart from being able to carry more passengers, the largest variant of the Boeing 777 has a range of over 13,649 km (7,370 NM) and is capable of operating direct long-haul flights from Paris to Tokyo or Los Angeles to Melbourne.

On the other hand, the largest variant of the 787 Dreamliner has a range of around 11,910 km (6,430 NM) which is still impressive but more limited than that offered by the 777. The Dreamliner offers direct long-haul flights on routes such as Vancouver to Madrid while longer routes will require multiple stops depending on the available airports.

Overall, if any airline needs new aircraft with a larger operational range to fly longer distances without having to refuel or land several times en route, then it should consider investing in a 777.

However, if the airline does not have that many long distance routes, then it can get by with the slightly less capable (but also cheaper) 787 Dreamliner. In either case, the two aircraft provide modern and reliable travel experiences for the passengers.

Speaking of price, let’s take a look at that aspect.

787 Dreamliner banking in a cloudy sky.

List price

When it comes to comparing the list prices of these two planes, the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787 we must start by highlighting the fact that the 787 was not intended to be a competitor for the 777. In the end, it is not good business for the manufacturer if this happen.

Now the Boeing 777, has a list price of approximately $375 million in his largest variant. By contrast, the much newer largest version of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a list price of around $340 million. This significant difference in their list prices emphasizes that there is still much progress to be made in terms of making commercial aviation more affordable going forward.

Ultimately, when shopping for commercial airliners, these two aircraft must be taken into account as they represent both past and future trends in air travel. With each offering unique benefits not found on many other models of aircraft, discerning buyers will have plenty to consider before making a final decision.

With careful consideration taken regarding such matters, it will hopefully lead to buyers coming away satisfied with their purchases in time to come.

Engine Power

Both models rely heavily on advanced engine technology to power their flights, with the Boeing 777 using General Electric or Pratt and Whitney engines, while the 787 utilizes either GE or Rolls Royce engines.

When it comes to engine power, the difference between the 777 and 787 could not be more stark. For example, the GE90 engine powering some of the 777 variants is capable of producing up to 115,000 pounds of thrust at takeoff. By comparison, new engines designed for use with the 787 can generate between 76,100 and 78,000 pounds of thrust at takeoff.

The difference in power is clear, but it is also the result of an improved efficiency. This is why the largest variants of each aircraft have similar operational range.

Ultimately, these powerful engines have helped both aircraft achieve great success in commercial aviation today compared to other aircraft in aviation history. Each model offers passengers reliable, long-distance options and better performance than ever before thanks to their advanced engine technology.

777 vs 787: Boeing 787 engine and wing in central view.

Safety

The Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787 are both considered safe when compared to older aircraft models. However, there are some key safety differences between these two aircrafts that should be taken into account when deciding which model to use.

Safety features on the Boeing 777, such as its enhanced ground proximity warning system and electro-optic terrain warning system greatly improve safety by alerting pilots when they are dangerously close to terrain or obstacles.

On top of that, A Boeing 777 is so safe that it can cover a significant distance without one engine functioning properly. Of course, there are many variables in a situation like this, but if engine failure happens during cruising, the pilots should be able to land the plane safely at the nearest airport..

In addition, this model includes a triple-redundant flight control computer that allows for improved safety in case of an emergency with one computer failing, something many passengers may not know, yet would appreciate.

The Boeing 787 has similar safety features to the 777, but also features improvements such as a wider and longer aisle space for passengers and smoother engine takeoff capability which can reduce air turbulence and improve safety during takeoffs. Its extra efficient carbon-fiber reinforced plastic wings can handle a greater range of motion than those found on the 777, leading to a smoother ride overall.

When all factors are taken into account, both models should be considered reliable options when it comes to safety; however, the 787 is likely the better aircraft for travelers looking for increased safety features and a smoother ride during their flight.

A Boeing 787 in flight.

Passengers comfort

Following the previous point, we must speak about passengers comfort. Generally speaking, the Boeing 777 offers a more comfortable passenger experience. This is because it is somewhat larger than the 787 and has higher capacity, leading to more room in terms of seating comfort.

More often than not, airlines opt for leather seats on 777s which offer a higher degree of comfort due to their upholstering design. When compared directly with tighter cabin space of 787s, the comfort benefits of the larger plane become particularly obvious.

However, the manufacturer claims that the Boeing 787 provides “an experience like none other in the air, with more comfort and less fatigue.” This statement is supported by the application of different technologies that go from large windows that dim at the touch of a button which can create a more comfortable experience for passengers to dynamic LED lighting that can help reduce jet lag.

Also, an improved cabin design helps the 787 to have plenty of space for the bags of the passengers to compete with the high capacity of the 777.

A cargo Boeing 777 landing on a runway.

The Boeing 777X

While the 777 and the 787 are the present of long-haul aircraft options, Boeing is working on a new innovative alternative, the Boeing 777X.

The Boeing 777X is set to be one of the most advanced aircraft ever to hit the skies. It features new GE9X engines, while its airframe and systems feature more carbon fiber composites than previous models, resulting in a lighter, more efficient plane.

The plane is also the world’s first wide-body airplane with folding wingtips, allowing it to fit into smaller airport gates and taxiways. Inside, the 777X has been designed with ample passenger space, comfort and convenience in mind.

With wider seating than most other planes in its class and an improved cabin design that makes use of thinner walls for increased headroom and window size, the 777X’s interior offers an incredibly comfortable flying experience.

Furthermore, onboard Wi-Fi coverage has been bolstered as part of the plane’s connectivity system. All these features combine together to make the Boeing 777X an impressive addition to any airline fleet.

With unparalleled levels of efficiency and comfort taking passengers right up into the stratosphere, this remarkable aircraft is sure to remain a favorite among airlines and passengers alike for many years to come.

777: vs 787: A Boeing 777 being towed to the runway.

Final remarks: 777 vs 787

Both the 777 and 787 are excellent aircraft with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. When deciding which one is right for the airline business, organizations must consider their specific needs carefully.

If they need an aircraft with a higher cargo or seating capacity, the 777 is likely the best bet as it definitely has a higher capacity in most of its variants. But, if they are looking for an aircraft that is more fuel efficient or easier on their passengers’ wallets for long haul travel, the 787 may be their favorite plane.

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Carlos Collantes
Carlos Collantes
A mechanical engineer and aviation enthusiast dedicated to share some knowledge by creating top-notch content, especially in engineering and aviation topics.

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