Boeing 787 Dreamliner
11:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

One final delay, then 787 Dreamliner finally heads for Tokyo

There were delays until the very end. Boeing’s first 787 headed for its new home in Tokyo about 45 minutes behind schedule this morning.

The Dreamliner will begin active service for Japan’s All Nippon Airways about a month from now. And Boeing is banking on years of research and design modifications in the new 787 to "wow" carriers and passengers alike.  

Boeing officials have repeatedly said they want their new designs to put the fun back in flying.

So far, Axel Roesler is impressed. He’s a professor of Interactive Design at the University of Washington. "It’s cutting edge. Absolutely cutting edge," he said.

Memorable from first step

Roesler toured the initial mock-up of the 787 a few years ago. He said it’s the illusion of spaciousness that sets the Dreamliner apart. And it starts with the entryway.

He said a passenger's first step onto the plane should set the scene.

"You’re going from the outside to the inside. So as a designer you want to work with this space to make it memorable because that’s sort of like a handshake with the new space."

And as far as design handshakes go, this is a good one: It’s a large, open foyer and contains a bar. Roesler said that sets the tone for passengers to relax.

Illusion of space

Other expanding elements: There are few sharp angles. Instead, it’s all soft curves and arched passageways. And soothing, blue LED lighting from overhead.

Roesler said this was an ingenious design plan to make the cabin feel roomier. It's a spacial trick that confuses the brain and blurs tangible boundaries.

"You make things curved and then you work in interesting ways with light so you’re turning the ceiling a little bit bluer and it creates more like a sky impression and you’re left with the impression that you’re dealing with a taller space than you’re actually in."

That, plus the oversized and dimmable windows are likely to leave a positive and lasting emotional connection between passengers and the aircraft, he said.

Unfortunately with Boeing’s slow delivery of 787s it could be a while before you get to see for yourself.