Alex On… Will Cathay join the B777 ten-across club?

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  • Anonymous


    I ask, because Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific has been surveying its passengers for their views on 10-across B777 economy class seating.

    The reason is simple. Cathay still retains a 9-across (3-3-3) B777 economy layout but many of its competitors airlines who operate B777s have either, or are about to, adopt(ed) 10-across (3-4-3) layouts on their B777s.

    These competitors cover major airlines in Europe, the Gulf and North America and comprise carriers such as Air France/KLM, Emirates, Etihad, Air Canada and American Airlines. Swiss will join them next year.

    A report in today’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) refers to the situation on the Hong Kong-Vancouver route where Cathay’s B777-300ER can accommodate up to 275 passengers but a similar aircraft operated by Air Canada will carry as many as 458 *.

    Granted, each carrier has differing seat counts in each class but no airline can afford such potential revenue losses.

    Quoted in the SCMP, a Cathay spokesperson said the airline periodically conducted research “to understand the trend and development of the airline industry and passengers’ ever changing needs and preferences.”

    The fact is that a majority of B777-300ER operators (some B777-200 carriers too) have configured their aircraft 10-across in the economy cabins. This especially applies to those carriers who have installed premium economy cabins.

    It is believer our own British Airways is considering adopting the tighter 10-across layout (I must stress that no decision has yet been made) and one wonders for how long Singapore Airlines (currently installing premium economy seating) will resist.

    But back to Cathay Pacific. Will it happen or is Cathay simply gauging passenger reaction ? Only time will tell.

    * Note: Air Canada’s original seat count was 458. But the carrier is now in the process of reducing that to 450 seats.

    Paywall may apply:


    It can only be a matter of time before BA joins the 10 across club too. The temptation of additional revenue must be very hard for airlines to refuse.


    CX, BA will have to go 10 across, as currently they are at a competitive disadvantage.

    Shame, as 10 across is a poor experience.


    CX and SQ generally regarded as service market leaders. If they switch they could then lose that title and the differentiators. It is worth remembering that these carriers still have 9 across in Y on 777:-

    Qatar but they are downgrading their Y product
    Air India
    Air China
    China Southern?


    sparkyflyer – thanks for your list..the only problem is how fast they will changeā€¦
    personally don’t mind Y in triple seats as I look for flights when loads mean a triple seat is available for me!


    More and more airlines are dabling in ten across. It seems common for airlines to just reconfigure one variant of 777 or a subfleet of 777’s first I guess as they then roster there aircraft to destinations where price and yields are particularly low. I guess it gives the airlines an idea of whether it’s a good move for them or not too. One of the longhaul 777-300 versions of ANA’s 777-300 is ten abreast. Saudias 777-200’s are ten abreast. China Southerns 777-200’s are also ten across.


    And Cathay has previous in this area – its Tristars were reconfigured from 9 to 10 abreast, and it also blocked up the overwing exits on its 747-200s, as BA did

    It should also help better differentiate its premium economy product, which has had a rockier start on CX than other carriers (it’s already being withdrawn from a load of routes)

    Really, people should quit complaining about 10 abreast. If you don’t like it, pay to upgrade, or fly another airline. EK has no issues filling its seats – would most people pay an 10% premium to fly CX with one less seat across? In Y, I think not…


    I don’t see why not. CX experience in Y is already abysmal. Might as well go the whole hog!


    I think BA did do 10 across for a short time. However they quickly changed back to 9.


    @ Panda01 – you are right….actually BA were probably THE first to go ten across although it didn’t last long. In the mid/late 90’s BA subcontracted some of its LGW – Caribbean flights to a charter operator called AML. The aircraft were in BA colours, AML crew in BA uniforms and the BA product was offered onboard. The 777’s were configured ten abreast in Y.


    Thanks for all your comments.

    As referguson notes, increasingly airlines are adopting 10-across configurations either fleet-wide or on their newer 777-300ERs.

    ANA already has some B777-300ERs in service with 10-across seating while United will take delivery of 10 of these aircraft next year.

    United’s B777-300ERs are intended to replace its elderly B747-400s which operate transpacific routes, including some/all of those to Hong Kong. The carrier has not divulged whether or its seating will be disposed 10-across but it’s almost a certainty that this will be the case.

    Yes there are some exceptions. But generally today’s trend is to install 10-across seating on new B777-300ERs.

    The B777X variant (which will enter service around 2020) has been designed for a 10-across cabin.

    Quite a number of carriers have already ordered this B777 variant including: ANA, Cathay, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa and Qatar.

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