We talk a lot about what the future of air travel will look like, but Boeing's long-time-coming 787 Dreamliner is finally ready for its first passengers and will definitely offer travelers a taste of the good life. Our favorite feature: the electronically dimming windows.
That's right: No more harsh shutter clacks while you try and snooze! Instead of having to raise and lower a plastic screen when you want some sun or shade, respectively, passengers riding high in the Dreamliner will be able to select between five different levels of dimming (you can see the associated button under the porthole above, center), so you don't have to pick between extremes. The windows are also roomier than your average pane, measuring 10 inches wide and 18 tall.
Wired got to take a peek inside Boeing's Dreamliner and played with the window settings:
At left is a window with the top light illuminated indicating normal mode. Press the button twice and you have the middle setting, which allows enough light to easily see outside. Press the button twice more and you're at the darkest setting (seen at right). You can stil see through the window, but barely. You must be patient, however. Push the button five times to go from clear to dark and it will take about 90 seconds to complete the transition.
We can deal with the lag. Pretty sweet livin', indeed!
Other futuristic features include scoops along the side of the aircraft that'll take in fresh air for the cabin (as well as help control the 787's environment), raked wingtips to improve fuel efficiency and reduce drag and even roomier bathrooms. Next feature we want to see? Well, with Boeing getting its own space program and all, how about some suborbital flying?
The first 787 Dreamliner, operated by All Nippon Airways, will fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong, and to other locations in Japan.