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United to Reconfigure Some Boeing 777s to 10-Abreast Seating

United to Reconfigure Some Boeing 777s to 10-Abreast Seating
Jeff Edwards

United Airlines has confirmed that the current 2-5-2 configuration will be changed to a 3-4-3 configuration on some Boeing 777 aircraft, netting an additional 20 seats.

Following an industry trend, United Airlines confirmed it will begin retrofitting some of its Boeing 777 aircraft to add an additional seat in each economy class row. The current 777 economy class configuration has nine seats abreast, with five seats between the aisles and two seats on the window sides of each aisle. The new plans call for 10 seats abreast, with four seats between the aisles and three seats on the window sides of both aisles. The new seating plan will make room for lay-flat seats in business class as well as 20 additional seats.

USA Today reports that United’s plans call for retrofitting 19 of its Boeing 777 aircraft used for domestic routes. The airline plans to have the planes completely retrofitted by May of 2017. The legacy carrier’s remaining 777 aircraft, primarily flown internationally, will keep the current nine-abreast seating configuration for the time being.

The plans will include United’s entire fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which will primarily be used for flights to and from Hawaii. The much larger fleet of 55 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft primarily used for international destinations are not affected. The airline has not confirmed the seat configuration it requested for its new Boeing 777-300ERs scheduled for delivery.

United is not alone in moving towards a ten-abreast configuration on 777 passenger planes. American Airlines, Emirates, KLM, All Nippon Airways and Air France use a ten-abreast economy cabin configuration on many of the 777 planes in their fleets. According to Boeing, most of the new 777 passenger planes ordered are now delivered already configured with ten-abreast economy class seating.

[Correction: Fly book previously reported Boeing 777-200ERs instead of Boeing 777-300ERs as scheduled for delivery.]

[Photo: United]

View Comments (13)


  1. Grog

    March 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I intend to make every effort to never step foot on one of these.

  2. abmj-jr

    March 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Yet another reason to avoid Y on UA.

  3. RustyC

    March 9, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Story is missing a key detail: How does this affect the seat width? Does it mean yet another downsizing there, and by how much? Passengers are justifiably irritated at airline moves to not only take away pitch (like Spirit and the 28-inch pitch), but even more so to try to reduce seat width. Readers should know if that’s being done here and if so, by how much.

    Common sense is going out the window in airline decisions that are being driven by profit. Were it not for the FAA and governments concerned over safety, we’d likely have configurations resembling slave slips. As much as some people resist the idea, we’re likely headed toward needing government-mandated minimums on pitch and width because airlines (especially ones like Spirit) just won’t adhere to common sense if it conflicts with profit. And trying to adopt a buyer-beware stance on something this fundamental just won’t cut it. What we’re seeing here is a failure of self-regulation in a market that’s increasingly oligopolistic and that has always had rules on it (like bilateral agreements in the case of international flights) that limit supply.

  4. ok2uselane

    March 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    “The airline has not confirmed the seat configuration it requested for its new Boeing 777-200ERs scheduled for delivery.”

    Do you mean 777-300ERs?

  5. BigFlyer

    March 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Just flew one of these on KLM with the 10 abreast seating.

    I was in an aisle seat on an 11 hour overnight flight.

    Impossible to sleep. The aisle was so narrow that people walking down the aisle were constantly bumping me and the seat.

  6. WillTravel4Food


    March 9, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Manufacturers are required to demonstrate planes can be evacuated with the maximum number of seats certified for installation. Any unreasonable density you may think is being invented by the airlines was already thought of by the manufacturer. So next time you want to complain about a 16″ wide, 28″ pitch seat, complain to the manufacturer who went through all the trouble to get that certified in the first place. The reality of the long term economics in the airline industry necessitate more seats and better yields. Don’t let the recent positive income reports fool you into believing investing in airlines is a wise investment.

  7. Lakeviewsteve

    March 9, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I’m surprised by the good news that they are installing lie flat beds on those planes. ORD to HNL currently has a RT F fare of under $2,000, whereas for flights to Europe in J with the same mileage cost $5,000-$8,000 RT. That is why the intl flights already have flat beds.

  8. KRSW

    March 9, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    People still fly UA?

  9. skidooman

    March 10, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Count me out of these. It is already too cramped, you want us to squeeze even more?

    No. Just no. I quit this game.

  10. Bear4Asian

    March 10, 2016 at 9:06 am

    RustyC is exactly correct.

    Everywhere around the globe people are taller, wider and overall bigger compared to previous generations. At the same time airplanes get bigger, longer and wider BUT seats get narrower, with less pitch and more crowded in.

    This is becoming a health and safety issue, especially on long-haul flights. We see a lot of breathless stories about the wonderful new, seats, meals, airplanes from airline PR folks. But it’s always about amenities for the high cost travelers (who frequently are flying using OPM – other people’s money).

    The rest of us be damned. And blamed for being too fat or too stingy to pay huge prices for comfortable seats, etc.

    Take a look at a recent “game changer” the Boeing 787. Airlines have been excited about the new effiency, great passenger experience, and on and on. And then they put in coach seats with an extra seat in each coach row more than Boeing recommended. Making the aisles narrower, the seats narrower and the passenger experience “better”. Really?


  11. scooternva

    March 10, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I did some sleuthing on, and (in addition to confirming the current width of United’s Hawaii seats) looked up American Airlines 777 aircraft that already have 3-4-3 seating.

    If United reconfigures their 777 aircraft similar to AA, increasing the number of seats per row from 9-abreast to 10-abreast will reduce seat width from 18.3″ to 17.0″. For comparison, a Boeing 737 has economy seats that are 17.3″ wide.

    I realize that United says that they’re only reconfiguring their Hawaii 777’s “for the time being”, but you can bet your soggy Business Class eggroll that they’ll expand this across their fleet eventually.

    Better save those miles for a Business Class upgrade. @#$!

  12. Bretteee

    March 10, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    One more reason to avoid this airline like the plague.

    They seem to do everything possible to chase away the economy class passengers.

    Lousy food.
    Mediocre crews in general / unfriendly.
    Generally unhelpful ground staff.
    Bad seating which will now go from bad to unbearable.
    The worst / highest excess baggage fees.

    The only good thing is their frequent flyer program.

  13. weero


    March 30, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    It takes the sophistry or an agency to not see that this is the #1 safety issue for today’s flyer. You could drop all certification, all mandatory maintenance, cancel the oversight of pilot training and reduce the number of flight attendants required to zero, not install emergency exits and not carry swim wests and rafts and provide no safety video and you’d still have a massive plus on the impact of the average flyers health and mortality combined if you mandated 32″+ pitch and 18″+ width.

    If anything the evacuation test should be conducted with a realistic set of passengers that are picked at random like jurors and bring the usual amount of luggage which they will also cling to and not the contortionist Olympia grade athletes that are trained to meet the 90 seconds run. That would at least moderate this insane trend.

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