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.]