Flying the same planes with more passengers on board increases profits, right? And so ANA joins the ever-growing collection of airlines cramming an extra seat across in the back of their 777s. No more 2-4-3 layout in the back; welcome to 3-4-3.
The new layout only adds 14 seats to the plane, upping the capacity to 264 from 250 that the prior layout offered. That’s mostly because there aren’t all that many economy class rows to begin with. Still, it also likely means losing the very comfortable extra armrest in the middle of the 4 section and overall narrower seats. I got to fly on the 2-4-3 layout in February and found it reasonably comfortable. I think it a safe bet that the new version will be less so.
Of course, ANA is not the only carrier pursuing such an approach. Far from it, really. American Airlines chose that layout for their new 777-300ERs. Emirates, Air Canada, Air France, Austrian, China Southern, Air New Zealand, TAM, Jet Airways and KLM all have it on some of their 777s, too. And my good friends over at RouteHappy tell me that China Airlines, Etihad, JAL, Scoot, Philippines Air, Aeroflot and Aerosvit are doing it, as well.
Much like switching to slim line seats to save weight and add more passengers into the same space this seems to be the direction the industry is headed. Unlike the slim line seats, however, it is hard for any airline to even remotely claim that these changes will increase passenger comfort. It will be interesting to see which other airlines choose to reconfigure their 777s versus retire them in the coming years.
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