777 Cruise altitude

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777 Cruise altitude

Post by Duke » 25 Jul 2019, 21:22

On my last longhaul trip with a B 777-300 I noticed that the cruise level of the plane in the early stages of the flight never passed above 31-33.000 feet. Only about halfway the plane climbed to around 36.000 feet, and only in the final stage to 38.000 feet.

On FR24, I see the "newer" generation aircraft (A380, A350, B787) climb sooner to 38.000 feet, and very often to 40.000 or 41.000 feet.
Why does a B777 generally have lower cruise altitudes?
Is this related to the aircraft, or is this a coincidence, or related to ATC?

I know that whe the flight progresses, the aircraft gets lighter because it has less fuel, and so can climb higher, but why does a 777 generaly cruise at lower altitudes?
Thanks for a reply.

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Joined: 12 Feb 2018, 14:50

Re: 777 Cruise altitude

Post by OO-PDB » 26 Jul 2019, 15:59

I remember the same question being asked some years ago on another forum. The answer was that the B777-300 series has a very high wing loading because the wings were originally designed for the 772 without a stretched version in mind.
I don't know the particular physics involved, but apparently this high wing loading restricts the 773 to lower flight levels.

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