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How To Distinguish an Airbus A350 from a Boeing 787

The Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 are probably 2 of the most similarly looking aircraft ever to be built. They look so similar it is often difficult to distinguish them. However a well trained plane spotter will be able to do it. In this post I’ll tell you how to set them apart.

Are They Really Similar Aircrafts?

Although these two models, built on either side of the Atlantic, look very similar they don’t exactly serve the same purpose. The A350 and its variants are more in the same class as the soon to be delivered 777X.

The 787 has a smaller capacity and also a smaller range compared to the A350, which is a full on high capacity ULR plane. The 787-9 is the most similar of the family to the A350s. That is so thanks to its maximum 420 PAX capacity and over 14,000 Km of range.

British Airways A350 on Approach

How To Recognise The A350 and the 787?

Now let’s move on to answering the question you came to this post for: how to distinguish an Airbus A350 from a Boeing 787. There is one area of these two aircraft type to look at closely to set them apart: the cockpit windshields.

The Airbus A350 will have a black outline to the cockpit windshield. This black outline will be present no matter what paint scheme is applied to the aircraft.

Singapore Airways Airbus A350 Taxiing

The Boeing 787, and all its variants, won’t have this outline. The parts of fuselage that separate the cockpit windshields will follow the paint scheme. For instance in the example below you can see these are light blue in the Korean Air 787.

how to recognise a 787 from an A350

A Bonus A350 Plane Spotting Tip

Along with telling you how to set apart an A350 from a 787 in this post I’ll also tell you how to distinguish an A350-1000 from an A350-900 or 800.

The A350-800 and 900 have their main undercarriage composed of 2 rows of 2 wheels per unit.

Singapore Airways Airbus A350 900 Taxiing

Meanwhile the Airbus A350-1000, being a heavier aircraft when fully loaded, features 3 rows of 2 wheels per undercarriage set.

British Airways A350-1000 on Approach

The difference is visible even in these two example pictures of a Singapore Airways A350-900 and a British Airways A350-1000.

About the author

Alex Achille

Ex Cabin Crew with Emirates, I've always loved travelling and other cultures. In this website I'll be sharing my experiences along with my reviews of the latest Korean Dramas and TV Series I've watched.