The Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 are taking the aviation world by storm. Airlines can’t get enough of these fuel-efficient jets to fly some of their longest routes — and airline passengers can’t get enough of them, either.
But do you know how to spot the difference between the two jets? They are both about the same size: 200-feet long with seating capacity of around 300 passengers (depending on variant). They are both much lighter than their predecessors because they are made of composite materials instead of heavier aluminum. But that’s where the similarities end.
Here’s some advice on spotting these gorgeous new planes…and distinguishing between the two.
The cockpit windows of an A350 wrap slightly more on either side, so much so that most airlines highlight them with black paint giving them, what many call a “bandit mask” or “raccoon eyes.” (I think it looks like the jet is wearing sunglasses.) The outer edges of the cockpit windows on the A350 are rounded as well, which is unique. On the Dreamliner, the outer edge of cockpit windows comes to a point, and they are not outlined in black. (Caveat: Air Canada has a new 787 with raccoon eyes, too. See slideshow at top!)
Next, look at the passenger windows. The B787 has windows that are both taller and wider than on the A350 and other jets. But the giveaway is on the aircraft doors: The A350 has small, round porthole-style windows on the aircraft doors. Dreamliner doors have tall, narrow windows with rounded top/bottom edges.
You should also look to the wings to help distinguish between the two planes. The wings of the B787 slant upward, and when you look at the plane with a head-on view, it is easy to notice. It’s also very clear that the wings bow up when looking out at them during flight. (See slideshow)
The tips of the wings on the A350 are uniquely curly while the B787 has raked wingtips that angle up slightly and point away from the plane.
Another good differentiator: Take a look at the engines. The B787 engine exhaust ducts have a serrated, toothy edge while the back of the A350 engine is a round cover with a solid edge.