The Boeing 787 vs The Airbus A350 – What Plane Is Best? (2023)

When you think of flagship aircraft, you think of non-other than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body). Both represent the very best in ideas, cutting edge technology and commercial know-how from their respective companies, and one could even say represent the best of Boeing or Airbus.

So which is the best? Let’s put together a comprehensive analysis to determine this question once and for all.

How will we compare planes?

We will rank the two planes on several different key factors such as capacity, range, fuel burn, cost and so forth. We will think from the mindset of an airline, where business and profit is key. Whilst one of the planes might have a cool feature unless it makes an improvement financially, then it will be ignored. This includes items like ‘LED mood lighting’ which is fantastic for passengers but doesn’t really impact the bottom line (And by the way, both the 787 and A350 have mood lighting onboard).


We will also be comparing the biggest and ‘flag-shippiest’ versions, the 787-10 vs A350-1000. The smaller 787-8 is more in competition with the A330neo and would not entirely be an accurate VS against the A350. Some critics might suggest it better compare the Boeing 777X vs the Airbus A350-1000 as that is a more accurate match, but as the 777X does not fly yet it would not be a fair test.

What is rather fun is that the Airbus being European will be measured in metric units, and Boeing being from the United States will be in imperial. Thus there is a lot of converting and we have tried to match up units as best as possible.

Airbus A350-1000 vs Boeing 787-10

Let’s compare them head to head with the raw numbers:

Model Airbus A350-1000 Boeing 787-10
Cockpit crew Two Two
Seating, 2-class 366/369 (54B + 315Y) 330 (32B + 298Y)
Seating, 1-class 387 440
Max capacity 440 440
Overall length 73.78 m / 242.7 ft 68.28 m / 224 ft
Wing 64.75 m / 212.43 ft span 60.12 m / 197 ft 3 in span
Overall height 17.08 m / 56 ft 0 in 17.02 m / 55 ft 10 in
Fuselage 5.96 m / 19.7 ft width, 6.09 m / 19.98 ft height 5.77 m / 18 ft 11 in width, 5.94 m / 19 ft 6 in height
Cabin width 5.61 m / 18 ft 5 in 5.49 m / 18 ft 0 in
Fuel capacity 158,791 L / 41,948 US gal 126,372 L / 33,384 US gal
274,808 lb / 124,651 kg 223,673 lb / 101,456 kg
Cargo capacity 44 LD3 or 14 pallets 40 LD3 or 13 (96×125) pallets
Speed (Cruise + Max) Cruise: Mach 0.85 (488 kn; 903 km/h) Max: Mach 0.89 (513 kn; 950 km/h) Cruise: Mach 0.85 (488 kn; 903 km/h) Max: Mach 0.90 (516 kn; 956 km/h);
Range 15,600 km / 8,400 nmi 11,910 km / 6,430 nmi
Takeoff (MTOW, SL, ISA) 2,600 m (8,500 ft) 9,100 ft (2,800 m)
Service ceiling 41,450 ft (12,630 m) 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
Engines (2×) Rolls-Royce Trent XWB General Electric GEnx-1B or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000
Maximum thrust 431.5 kN / 97,000 lbf 76,000 lbf (340 kN)

Let’s break down each item:

Seating: In a two-class configuration, the Airbus A350 can handle more passengers than the Boeing. Apparently, while they can fix the same maximum amount on board, realistically however, neither would operate with 440 onboard. Winner: Airbus A350

But we should also compare the smaller A350-900, which seating 315 passengers just comes shy to Boeing 787-10s 330 seats.

Cabin Size: Thanks to the bigger size of the plane, the Airbus A350 has an extra 10cm on board for passengers to enjoy. This is almost inconsequential so we will say Draw.

(Video) Boeing 787 vs Airbus A350 – Which is Better?

Fuel Capacity: The Airbus has larger fuel tanks than the Boeing, as per its larger range (see below). Winner: Airbus A350

Cargo Capacity: Despite the Airbus being bigger than the Boeing, they both have roughly the same cargo capacity. Draw.

Speed: Both aircraft are within the same speed and thus are comparable.

Range: The A350-1000 has a bigger range than the Boeing 787-10. However, the smaller Boeing 787-9 has a range of 7,635 nmi (14,140 km) and thus is almost equal to Airbus. This is a hard win to give away. Winner: Airbus A350-1000

Related: See how your own miles would stack up against these aircraft with the Capital One Venture Rewards card’s offer of two miles per dollar spent, or a whopping ten miles per dollar on [ege_cards_link id=”6809″ caption=”Learn more about this card”], or first see our SimpleFlying travel rewards cards comparison.

Runway take-off length: Turns out, the bigger plane can deliver more takeoff thrust and thus take off from a shorter runway. Winner: Airbus A350

What about maintenance and fuel efficiency?

It is an open secret that the Boeing 787 is by far the most fuel-efficient plane on the market. Below is a graph that ranks the fuel efficiency of each aircraft comparatively, however the fuel efficiency of the Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 is not present (From 2016).

To compare the Boeing 787-9 vs the Airbus A350-900 over 6,500 miles (Study in 2013):

Boeing: 2.81 L/100 km (84 mpg)

Airbus: 3.08 L/100 km (76 mpg)

The big advantage to the A350-900 is it can also fly much further and with a larger payload than the 787-9. Once the 787-9 is at maximum fuel load for it to fly further you must start to reduce payload. 1000nm past this point the A350-900 can carry TWICE the payload weight of the 787-9. – RJMAZ –

(Video) Airbus A350-1000 vs Boeing 787-10..! Which is your favorite ?

Per seat, the Boeing 787-10 would come out ahead of the A350-1000, but as the A350 can carry more passengers, this may negate any savings made unless the 787-10 was in a dense configuration.

Additionally, because of all the technology and new features, the Boeing 787 has been running into engine problems, having to be replaced by an Airbus A380, or an Airbus A340.

What about cost?

Just from reading above you would realize that the Airbus A350 has the 787 beat in passenger numbers, range and fuel capacity, which makes sense as it is a bigger aircraft.

However, this is one last area we have not compared, Price.

787-10: US$325.8 million (2018)

A350-1000: US$366.5 million (2018)

As you can see, the Boeing 787 is cheaper. If you are an airline that is not flying over the max distance of the 787, between smaller destinations that do not have the capacity for a larger plane (Such as a Boeing 777) then all that is left to care about is price.

And you bet Boeing will give you a great discount if you order more than one, beating out any possible discount Airbus could provide. Plus, with the savings brought by these two planes on fuel consumption, you are guaranteed to start earning more faster with the Boeing.

A perfect example would be a US domestic carrier like United or Delta.

Real-life case study: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines operates 32 A350-900s and 13 Boeing 787-10s.

Both aircraft are flown on Singapore to Seoul route (with the 787-10 starting on the 1st of May 2019) and will be a great comparison of which aircraft is better.

(Video) Boeing 787 Dreamliner VS Airbus A350 | Who Is The Best?

First, the seat layout:

A350-900 – Inter-Asian version

40 Business-class and 263 Economy class seats

Boeing 787-10

36 Business-class and 301 Economy class seats.

In economy, both have a 3-3-3 configuration (although something odd is going on at the rear right-hand side of the 787-10 with those blocked middle seats).

According to Seat Guru, the seats on the A350 take advantage of the wider aircraft and provide 0.5 inches more width (although the same pitch of 32 inches). This is hardly a massive difference, and at the same token, the 787-10 has 2 inches wider business class seats (the same pitch).

The Boeing 787-10 is going to feel more crowded with more passengers on board, but the difference should hardly be noticeable. Looking at reviews online, both planes have the same complaints of shortened legroom and a narrow business class.

The 787-10, by carrying more passengers and with better fuel economy, is actually earning more money for the airline.

Winner: Dreamliner 787-10

Hold on, what if Singapore ordered and deployed an A350-1000 on this route? They would be able to make up the difference in passenger numbers but it would be a close race with fuel economy.

(Video) A350 vs 787: Which would you rather fly on?

Likewise, Singapore also operates two other versions of the A350-900, one for long haul and a special ultra-long-range. Despite this, they both have the same cabin (the A350-900LR doesn’t have economy, but only premium economy with 38 inches of pitch and thus carries way fewer passengers) as the shorter range version with 32 inches in economy.

These aircraft are deployed on very specific routes to find the most profit (such as New York to Singapore which commands a very high premium). You might think that this means that the A350-900 / 1000 is good for long-range routes for premium customers, but Qantas has found great success using a Boeing 787 on their long-range London to Perth route.

Which has been more popular?

Judging by the pure sale numbers of the two types as of August 2019, Boeing has sold 1,464 orders of the 787 and has managed to deliver 882. Whilst Airbus has only sold 913 of the A350 and made 300 deliveries), we can see that the industry prefers the Boeing 787.

We should also mention the caveat that there are three variants of the 787 and only two of the A350 (thus more variants for the airlines to choose from**). Plus, the Boeing 787 started deliveries in 2011, three years before the Airbus A350. So if we divided the total orders by how many years the aircraft has been available (Boeing at 15 years from 2004 announcement and Airbus at 13 years since 2016) we should get a little more of an accurate picture.

Boeing popularity average = 1464 / 15 = 97.6 orders per year

Airbus popularity average = 913 / 15 = 70.2 orders per year

Thus we could suggest that Boeing is the more popular aircraft with airlines. Although one theory is that if Airbus had been to market at the same time as Boeing they would have won over some of those initial numbers. But this falls flat when you realize the biggest Dreamliner order was in 2007 (when the A350 was available to order) with 369 units in that year alone.

Most popular: Boeing 787

** Airbus actually did offer an A350-800 but it was so unpopular that no one bought it. They then rolled the design into the A330neo

So who is the real winner? It depends on what you need it for and how much you are willing to spend. If you want a long-range aircraft with maximum passengers, then the A350-1000 is perfect for you. But if you have a shorter route within seven hours, then the Boeing 787-10 will give you better economics.

And this is supported by the industry, with United using the 787-10 for mostly domestic operations (although they did just plan to use it to fly long-haul to NZ) and Qatar extensively using the A350-1000 to fly around the world.

(Video) Boeing just teased its next 787. It’s an A350 killer.

Be sure to read our article, Boeing 787 vs Airbus A330neo and our other article Boing 777x vs Airbus A350. The true clash of the Titans.

Let us know who you think should win in the comments.

“The A350-900 (compared to the Boeing 787-9) is a larger machine and thus has more carrying capacity for both passenger and cargo. Consequently, that capacity also has to be filled consistently,” adds Pandey.

Which is better Airbus or Dreamliner? ›

Passenger count

In terms of capacity, it is abundantly clear that the A380 can carry significantly more passengers than any 787 variant. With 525 passengers in a standard, three-class configuration, the A380 has a sizeable advantage over the Boeing 787-10, which seats 323 passengers across three classes.

Which is best Boeing or Airbus? ›

Again, it seems that Boeing edges ahead with the most active aircraft. According to’s data, there were 10,726 operational Boeing aircraft belonging to 583 different carriers. Narrowbody jets made up 7,634 aircraft, while widebodies comprised 3,092 jets.

Why is the A350 better? ›

Range and flexibility. Surprisingly, for all its size, the A380 can’t go as far as the A350. The A350-1000 can travel more than 1,000 km (540 NM) further than the A380. Singapore Airlines has a special ‘ultra-long-range’ (ULR) A350-900, which operates on the longest route in the world, from Singapore to New York JFK.

Do pilots prefer 787 or A350? ›

As both aircraft were launched at nearly the same time, it can be seen that the industry prefers the 787. While longer distances and more passengers might suffice one airline’s demands (thereby, with the A350), medium haul flights with higher fuel efficiency might do it for others (with the 787).

Is the A350 or 787 more comfortable? ›

While both aircraft have much quieter cabins than their competitors, the A350 definitely feels a lot quieter than the 787, no matter which part of the plane you’re sitting in. The A350 is in fact the quietest twin-engined aircraft in the skies. The only plane quieter is it’s double-deckered older brother, the A380.

What is the difference between A350 and 787? ›

The A350 will be made from 53 per cent carbon fiber; the 787 is 50 per cent carbon fiber. Both are long range and can fly in excess of 8,000 miles without refueling. Somewhat bigger, the A350 will have 270-440 seats to the 787’s is 210-330. Both come in three models although the smallest 787 may be dropped.

What’s bigger A350 or 787? › Cabin Size: Thanks to the bigger size of the plane, the Airbus A350 has an extra 10cm on board for passengers to enjoy….

Airbus A350-1000 vs Boeing 787-10.

Model Airbus A350-1000 Boeing 787-10
Seating, 1-class 387 440
Max capacity 440 440
Overall length 73.78 m / 242.7 ft 68.28 m / 224 ft

15 more rows Do pilots prefer Boeing or Airbus? ›

Do pilots prefer Boeing or Airbus? Pilots will always differ in opinion. The general feeling is that Airbus aircraft on the narrowbodies (A320 etc) are slightly more comfortable in terms of space in the flight deck than a 737 for example.

Which is safest Airbus or Boeing? ›

Which is safer: Boeing or Airbus? But this question is not really relevant, since both Boeing and Airbus have remarkably similar safety records. The differences between Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier are minor, all of them being more dangerous than Embraer but far safer than ATR or Sukhoi.

Which is more comfortable Airbus or Boeing? ›

But if you’re faced with the choice between an Airbus A320 family jet and a Boeing 737, you might want to go with the former. Thanks to the wider cabin, reduced cabin-wall curvature and better-placed windows, the Airbus offers a more comfortable ride than the 737, all else being equal.

What is the safest Boeing plane? ›

The 787 Dreamliner commercial jets that Boeing Co. builds in North Charleston are among the world’s safest in terms of accidents, a new report shows, with no fatalities or events involving extensive damage during more than a decade of flights.

Why is 787 so special? ›

This high aspect ratio wing design combined with efficiency enhancing raked wing tips allow the 787 to be one of the fastest commercial aircraft (Mach 0.85 cruise speed) while consuming less fuel than today’s comparably sized aircraft.

Can you feel turbulence on A350? ›

The plane offers advanced turbulence-dampening features, but you’re still going to feel the chop if you hit it.

Is the 787 quieter than the A350? ›

The A350 is quieter

Airbus claims that interior noise levels on the A350 are five decibels quieter than competing aircraft (presumably the 787), and up to nine decibels quieter towards the front of the plane, equating to four times less noise.

What is the most beautiful airplane? ›

Vickers VC10

The British-built VC10 is perhaps the most beautiful sub-sonic jet airliner ever built, an elegant machine with perfect, sweeping lines. It was the only western airliner to ever use a rear-mounted, 4-engine configuration, a defining feature that accentuated its uncluttered, streamlined look.

What type of plane is the safest? ›

According to experts, the model (737-800) is considered to be the safest aircraft ever made.

Why do airlines have both 787 and A350? ›

It has the specially adapted A350-900ULR taking up the longest routes, such as New York, with the 787-10 offering a higher capacity option for other routes. There are plenty more specific reasons for certain airlines using the 787 or A350. This is often to meet their particular range, capacity, and route requirements.

Why is A350 better than 787? ›

In the same market

The 787-10 offers a range of 6,430NM (7,400 miles) and seating for 330-440 passengers. Meanwhile, the A350-900 seats the same figure, up to 440, but can fly journeys as long as 8,100NM (9,320 mi).

What’s the best plane to fly on? › Top 10 Best Commercial Aircraft

  • 1 Boeing 777. Certainly a great aircraft if you fly economy + or business. …
  • 2 Boeing 747. How did the a380 get up here? …
  • 3 Airbus A380. …
  • 4 Concorde. …
  • 5 Boeing 787. …
  • 6 Boeing 737. …
  • 7 Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. …
  • 8 Airbus A330.

Is 787 a good plane? ›

The 787 Dreamliner really has changed flying for passengers, pilots and airlines alike. Even though you may not have not noticed it, there are several small differences that all add up to making it one of the best aircraft to fly long-haul on.

How can you tell a 787 from A350? ›

Most other aircraft (including the new Airbus A350) have a six-panel windscreen. To distinguish the two 787 variants, look at the number of windows between the first two emergency exit doors. The shorter 787-8 has nine windows, and there is a second group of five windows on the longer 787-9 aircraft.

What is special about Airbus A350? ›

Enhanced passenger

The A350 Family has two versions: the A350-900, and the longer fuselage A350-1000. A350s fly efficiently on any sector from short-haul to ultra-long-haul routes up to 9,700nm, carrying 300-410 passengers in typical three-class configurations, and up to 480 passengers in a single-class layout.

Why is the 787 more comfortable? ›

The 787 promised passenger comfort

One of the promises of the 787 was improved passenger comfort. There are several improvements in this area, including higher cabin air pressure. The cabin is pressurized at 6,000 feet, as opposed to 8,000 feet on most other aircraft, including the 777.

Which plane is better 777 or A350? ›

The 777-9 and A350-1000 offer a similar range

Both aircraft offer a range suitable for the longest standard long-haul flights. The A350-1000 beats the 777-9 here, with a range of 7,992 nm (14,800 km). The 777-9 offers slightly less at 7,290 nm (13,500 km).

Is 777 or 787 better to fly? ›

Passenger capacity

The Boeing 777 series is generally larger than the 787 and thus can carry more passengers. The 787-10 has a higher capacity than the smaller 777-200 series. However, it falls short of the larger 777-300 models by 66 passengers in a typical two-class configuration.

Is A350 a heavy or super? › This is a list of aircraft sorted by maximum takeoff weight….


Type Airbus A350-900
TOR [m] 2,670
LR [m] 1,860
ICAO category Heavy
FAA category Heavy

78 more columns Which is easier to fly Airbus or Boeing? ›

The biggest difference between a Boeing and an Airbus cockpit is that the Boeing uses a conventional yoke, and Airbus uses a side stick. According to Airbus, the side stick makes it easier to fly the aircraft because, with armrests correctly set, only very fine wrist movements are required to maneuver the aircraft.

What is Boeing’s best selling plane? ›

Boeing 747

It entered service in 1970 with legendary airline Pan Am. Since 1990, it’s been the US presidential choice, with the Air Force One fleet comprising two customized 747-200Bs.

How old is the 787 Dreamliner? ›

Type certification was received in August 2011 and the first 787-8 was delivered in September 2011 before entering commercial service on October 26, 2011, with ANA.

Is the Airbus A350 safe? ›

The A340 is also one of the safest, with no fatalities to the 380 units since its introduction in March 1993. All in all, when it comes to Airbus, the A220, A319neo, A320neo, A321neo, A340, A350, and A380 have a clean record.

Which airline has had no crashes? ›

Running since 1929, Hawaiian is among the oldest airlines in the world but, remarkably, it has never suffered a single fatal crash or hull loss.

Do Boeing crash more than Airbus? ›

What is the Most Dangerous Plane? Looking at just the numbers, the most dangerous plane is the Boeing 737 with 149 accidents and 4,360 fatalities. Additionally, the Boeing 747 has been involved in 49 accidents and 3,713 fatalities, and the Airbus A300 has been involved in 33 accidents with 1,416 fatalities.

Which is quieter Boeing or Airbus? ›

The website pulled research figures together for several widebody aircraft – with the A380 coming in lowest at 69.5 dB. The Boeing 787, for comparison, was quoted as 72.7 dB and the Airbus A350 at 74.9 dB.

What plane has the best economy seats? ›

Emirates wins award as the World’s Best Economy Class with Qatar Airways in second place and Singapore Airlines in third position. Scroll down to see all of the economy class airline category ratings.

What is the most comfortable airline? ›

Seat dimensions Seatback screens Power outlets
Pitch: 32 to 34 inches Width: 17.8 to 18.4 inches All flights Power and USB outlets on most flights

What Boeing plane has all the problems? ›

Boeing Reaches $200 Million Settlement With Regulators Over Its 737 Max. The S.E.C. said Boeing had misled investors by suggesting that human error was to blame for two deadly crashes, and omitting the company’s concerns about the plane. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month.

Which airline is safest to fly? ›’s safest airlines for 2022:

  1. Air New Zealand.
  2. Etihad Airways.
  3. Qatar Airways.
  4. Singapore Airlines.
  5. TAP Air Portugal.
  6. SAS.
  7. Qantas.
  8. Alaska Airlines.

Are bigger planes better in turbulence? ›

However, generally, the larger the plane, the better it is at absorbing turbulence. For example, due to the sheer size, aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 are said to be two of the best planes for coping with turbulence.

Which one is bigger A350 or 787? › Cargo Capacity: Despite the Airbus being bigger than the Boeing, they both have roughly the same cargo capacity….

Airbus A350-1000 vs Boeing 787-10.

Model Airbus A350-1000 Boeing 787-10
Seating, 1-class 387 440
Max capacity 440 440
Overall length 73.78 m / 242.7 ft 68.28 m / 224 ft

15 more rows

Which is wider 787 or A350? ›

Meanwhile the A350 has nine seats per row, though has a wider cabin. As a result, you can expect economy seats on the A350 to have 18″ of width, while on the 787 they have closer to 17″. Every inch counts!

Is A350 or 787 more fuel efficient? ›

Boeing 787 – 2.31 L/100 km (102 mpgUS) Airbus A350 – 2.39 L/100 km (98 mpgUS)

Why is the 787 so popular? ›

This high aspect ratio wing design combined with efficiency enhancing raked wing tips allow the 787 to be one of the fastest commercial aircraft (Mach 0.85 cruise speed) while consuming less fuel than today’s comparably sized aircraft.

Is Boeing 787 a good plane? ›

The 787 Dreamliner really has changed flying for passengers, pilots and airlines alike. Even though you may not have not noticed it, there are several small differences that all add up to making it one of the best aircraft to fly long-haul on.

Which is more comfortable Boeing or Airbus? ›

Is Airbus more comfortable than Boeing? The comfort levels between Airbus and Boeing really depend on the interior configuration for a given airline. Rather than Airbus or Boeing being more comfortable, it is really much more about what the product is like for a given airline.

Is A350 good in turbulence? ›

The plane offers advanced turbulence-dampening features, but you’re still going to feel the chop if you hit it.

What is the best seat on Airbus A350? ›

The best row is row 20 which is the first row of the World Traveller Plus cabin. This row has the most legroom as there is nobody sitting in front of you. There are also no lavatories or galleys between the Club World and World Traveller Plus cabin to be concerned about.


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