United’s newest 777 config on delivery flight

The first of United’s new high density 777s has left its maintenance facility in Hong Kong and is headed back to North America where it will be placed into service. The aircraft will stop off in Guam and then Honolulu as it makes its way back to eventual entry in service.


This is the latest retrofit of the United 777 domestic* fleet, with 10-abreast down the back for 336 passengers, including Economy Plus and recycling some of the old business class seats back into service to provide a lie-flat experience for the 28 passengers flying up front.


On the plus side, no double middle seat in the old 2-5-2 layout. And the biz seats, while narrower, are flat which is good for passengers on the Guam flights and some of the redeyes it will serve. But the 10-abreast option in the back is definitely tighter. Hey, at least those cheering for domestic wide-body service get a little more of it.

*The configuration will also serve GUM-NRT which is not domestic, but the other scheduled routes are.

Thanks Stephan for the initial alert and FT for more details

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. This config is only for the domestic routes, not the intercontinental flights. Those are dropping the 2-4-2 for the Polaris product.

  1. while the number of seats in economy will change, eventually all 777 retrofits will be 10 abreast in back, right? Thinking specifically about the ones with Polaris up front as they’re added next year etc.

    1. Correct…everything is going to 10-abreast in the back eventually. We’ve known that for the 77W for a while now. The Polaris 772s were the uncertain ones and those seem to be set for the squeeze in the back, too.

      1. Does 77W mean 777-300ER? If so, why is that the case? I presume there’s a reason for not calling it the 773…

        1. Yes, it does. The 773 is the 777-300. The 77W is the 777-300ER. They’re different configurations of the plane with different capabilities. Just like the 77A is the 777-200 and the 772 is the -200ER variant and 77L is the -200LR variant.

          I do not know why the “W” was chosen in that case. My understanding is that 73G for 737-400 and 74H for 747-8i are because G and H are the 7th and 8th letters in the alphabet, respectively.

          Also worth noting that some of the designations are IATA/ICAO-supported and some are just internal designations by an airline. But 77W is of the former set.

          1. Pretty sure the 73G – is 737-700 – I always wondered why and I think that explains it really well. Thanks! Happy to provide sources if you disagree.

          2. Yeah…that’s a typo on 737-400; my bad. The context – naming G as the 7th letter of the alphabet – somewhat clears it up. 😮

          3. Actually 73G is not random consecutive letter, it was chosen to distinguish from 737 v 738, 739.

            Oddly enough G is for Generation, as 737-700 was first in series as Next Generation 737.

            So, 735 (CO/UA does not fly 737-600), 73G, 738, 739.

  2. I’m guessing these birds are getting D checks as well as the re-config. That would explain the nearly 3 months it was in HKG?

    1. First one always takes longer as it involves getting the certification from the FAA. That’s at least 30 days of time in nearly all new configurations.

  3. Are they repurposing the PMUA IPTE seats? Somehow I thought they were putting in PMCO seats, but the PMUA config is the only one within the current fleet that would meet the 2-4-2 density requirement.

    Sucks in the back, but a notable improvement in the front. And a pretty efficient use of space — not so many moons ago, the high-density version of the 777 had an add 2-2-2 config in the front with domestic first class seats and huge aisles. Of course the lack of middle seats was nice, but it didn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things.

  4. Any idea which domestic routes they’ll go on?
    Also-are these horrendously configured planes capable of the long domestic routes like HNL-EWR/ORD or are they earlier 772’s that can’t make that long of a trip?

    1. Hawaii will see them a lot, but from ORD/IAH and west. They are the 77A models which don’t have the range for EWR/IAD-HNL unless significantly weight restricted.

      As for mainland operations, expect to see them on hub-to-hub routes like SFO-ORD where today the carrier is flying “wingtip” operations with multiple narrow-body aircraft at similar times.

  5. Thanks. I’m sure glad these “enhancements” won’t affect East Coast to HI flying. That way we’ll only have to listen to folks from Chicago west complain!
    -Fake Oscar

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