Today marked the beginning of the last phase in the delivery of the first Continental 787 Dreamliner aircraft: it began the roll down the final assembly line in Washington. And, given that the delivery is now not too far away it seemed like a good idea to revisit the seating configuration question.
I spent a decent amount of time a few months back putting together a bunch of numbers and trying to figure out if they could add a section of the economy cabin with extra leg room seats to make the long flights it is destined for more bearable. At the time, based on the announced seating capacity of the plane, the answer was decidedly no. With today’s press release, however, the seating configuration has officially changed.
The first United 787 will be configured with 36 flat-bed seats in BusinessFirst, 63 extra-legroom seats in Economy Plus and 120 seats in Economy
That economy cabin configuration has 9 fewer seats than the previously announced 192 economy seats. Given the previous statement that the plane will have 9-abreast seating in coach, along with the move to Economy Plus, it is pretty clear that a row of seats (9) is being removed to make that work out. Combine that data with the map from ANA, the first carrier to take delivery of the 787 and some other quick and dirty hack jobs with an image editor and you get the image here. It is my best guess as to what the cabin will look like.
Based on the previously announced numbers I expect that the BusinessFirst cabin will be remarkably similar to the existing 777-200 cabin in terms of seat layout, though there will be fewer total seats in that cabin. Behind the BF cabin will be
9 7 rows of Economy Plus with a seat pitch of approximately 35-36 inches. Behind that will be another set of doors and then finally the economy cabin. Based on the number of seats announced it is almost certainly going to be 13 rows fully across and one extra set of 3 seats in the middle. I’ve shown that at the back in the mock-up to account for the narrowing of the fuselage in the back of the plane. That section will likely have 32" of pitch based on the previously announced numbers.
The only bit that I’m not completely certain on is the location of the lavatories in the front of the cabin. Right now there is the empty space marked by door 1L that, on the 772 that I use as the basis for this map, is the pilot rest bunks. There has to be a lav up there for the flight crew to use so maybe they’ve managed to squeeze in both that and the rest bunks or maybe it is a bit different.
Like I said before, I’ve basically completely made this up, but I did so using the numbers from Boeing and Continental/United and I’m pretty confident in them at this point.
UPDATE (21 Aug 2011):
I received a bit of feedback on the numbers and layout of the seats and have made some adjustments from the above estimate to the image below. Based on my sources I’m quite confident in this latest iteration.
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