The B787 Dreamliner is Boeing’s newest wide body airliner, only recently entering service. They’re preparing to take one on a world tour as part of the marketing effort focused on selling the airliner to more of the world’s airlines. And they posted a video of the aircraft being prepare for the tour which gives us another nice look at the new interior. What I found most interesting was a quick glimpse, starting at around the 0:25 mark, of the overhead crew rest area.
Most passengers are never aware of it, but on those long international flights the crew needs somewhere to rest. They certainly can’t get much rest in their jump seats since they don’t even recline. The traditional approach was to have a crew rest area in the lower fuselage, on the same level as the baggage hold, below the passenger cabin. But that cuts down on cargo space, which is important for airlines as it is a significant source of revenue. So a more clever approach was developed. Consider the shape of the fuselage as seen from the outside, now think of the cabin interior. The ceiling isn’t a high arc, is it? Right.
There is a lot of space between the passenger cabin ceiling and the outer skin of the fuselage. Traditionally this has been used for air conditioning ducts, cable runs, etc. But it was largely wasted space. Boeing re-arranged the ducts, cables, etc., and make room for a small area for the crew to get some sleep. In the B747 there is a crew rest area in the aft fuselage above the passenger cabin. Later models of the B777 offer an overhead crew rest area at the front, above the first class cabin. And the B787 offers this feature as well. It’s just something I think is neat.
They also released a video highlighting how quiet, relatively, the B787 is compared to legacy airliners in the same class: