Starry flight aboard the Worldliner

New Delhi, Aug 4 | Updated: Aug 5 2005, 06:28am hrs
For Boeings new airplane 777-200LR (long range), which is set to make history with its proposed 24-hour record flight later this year, a hardsell of its rather soft feature called starry sky during a demo flight in the capital certainly sounds a bit trifle.

Well, just in case you refuse to be starry-eyed about the starry sky, picture this: a custom-designed ceiling, lit from behind to resemble the stars at night, the starry lighting on the aircraft currently on a world tour, is a replica of the night sky of Seattle.

The stars can be configured to correspond with the way the sky at night looks or with the mood of passengers, according to Boeing officials. And the catch: this would be offered to airlines as an option, but with a pricetag. But for those, who are still adamant as to why Boeing would make a song for the artificial moonlit ceiling of the plane, also called Worldliner, a host of other interesting features is a hooker.

Take comfort, dont lose hope could be the moral of your journey. Its prime fascination is clearly its spaciousness offering the widest seats in all classes compared to its closest competitor A340. The business class is, as expected, the most luxurious. The seat controls have so many options and settings that one needs help. But you can lie nearly flat for a sound sleep, or extend or stretch the seat bottom and foot rests while sitting up, and many many more.

To top it, the business class also has the huge 15-inch screens set into the back of the seats. With a remote control passengers can choose among a variety of movies and other sources of entertainment.

Now some facts: The twinjet plane, capable of connecting almost any two cities in the world without a break, is the fifth 777 model. It can carry 301 passengers and baggage up to 9,420 nautical miles (17,445 kilometers). It also offers the option to airlines to convert the open space to individual cabins.

The crowning achievement, as the airline calls it, is the innovative design that includes crew rest areas above the passenger deck created perhaps for the first time by any airline. This, Boeing officials said, frees enough space for four passenger seats and four cargo containers. In other words, it means more revenue for airlines.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the plane is its fuel efficiency: the airline can save up to 2 million gallons of fuel per aircraft a year, translating into savings of $3.6 million a year, according to Boeings vice president(sales) Dinesh Keskar. Still in its experimental stage, the Boeing 777-200LR will soon fly passengers around the globe just after completing one more milestone: a nonstop long-distance flight for a world record.