Alex On…Qatar Airways increases B777 economy class seating

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  • Anonymous


    Until now, Qatar Airways, the so-called “five star airline” has prided itself on being the only Gulf carrier to maintain 9-across (3-3-3) seating in the economy cabin of its B777 fleet.

    But things might be about to change.

    According to The Qatar Source, one of the airline’s fleet of B777-300ERs entered service today on the Doha-London route and in the booking systems, this particular B777 is configured with an additional 23 economy class seats.

    It’s reported the revised configuration is 42 in business and 316 in economy. The previous layout was 42 and 293 respectively.

    At present it is unclear whether Qatar is joining the 3-4-3 10-across in economy club or whether the extra space is being found by reducing legroom.

    And will this particular aircraft form a B777 sub-fleet to be rostered only for medium- to long-haul routes ? And then would the existing 9-across 3-3-3 B777s (with their more spacious economy seating) be reserved for the longer sectors to N America, Australia and so on ?

    It’s not the first aircraft to which Qatar has added extra economy seating. As we reported in May, the airline has developed an HD (high-density) version of its A340-600s and this aircraft will be used initially on flights to Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Algiers.


    On a similar score, at IAG’s half yearly results presentation last Friday – available on line – there is mention by Keith Williams, CEO of BA that they are looking at going 10 abreast on the 40 odd B777’s in their fleet , justifying such a reseating on the very positive response of customers to the reseating of the A319/320 fleet recently! Clearly no one who posts here was consulted. And do I not recall the original B777’s at LGW were 10 abreast and reformatted to 9 wide because of customer pressure? And that is another up to 20+ bums on seats to sell!


    greyhawkgeoff –

    You’ve reminded me about AML Flying Colours which operated a number of holiday flights to Florida under a JV arrangement with BA.

    The JV finished in 2002 and AML is no longer trading.

    I wonder how many poeple today, remember the time when BA offered 10-across seating on these B777 flights ?

    As you say, there were many passenger complaints (the Daily Telegraph travel section published a regular stream of negative reader letters) which eventually prompted BA to axe this JV with AML.

    Yes it looks likely that BA will eventually join the B777 10-across club.

    It has little choice, really, seeing as most B777 operators in Europe have either retrofitted their B777s 10-across or are in the process of doing so. (One exception is Turkish Airlines).

    Lufthansa and Swiss, two of BA’s long-haul rivals, currently operate no B777s.

    But Swiss will acquire a new fleet of B777-300ERs in early 2016 which will be 10-across, as we have reported,

    while Lufthansa itself has ordered a large number of B777Xs (they won’t enter service for a number of years) whose economy cabins have been engineered for a 10-across layout.


    I was under the impression that one of Skytrax’s criteria for awarding an airline 5* status, was that they don’t have 10-across on 777s, or various other longhaul aircraft. I seem to recall this was in response to comments about other airlines being better than some of their 5* airlines, and Skytrax’s response was that the number of seats across was important in deciding this. Has something changed?


    Some of you may already have seen the news piece we carried two days ago.

    It is confirmed that this particular B777-300ER will be configured 10-across in economy and it features those slimline Recaro 3710 seats which were first seen on one of KLM’s B777-200s late last year.

    This B777-300ER has been operating various short- to medium-haul routes.

    As well as London Heathrow, it’s also been used to Bangkok, Hanoi and even Cairo.

    And a seating plan is now posted on The Qatar Source website.


    I’m sure I read somewhere that these ten abreast 777’s will be used on specific routes, mainly the ones that carry loads of immigrant workers. Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur etc. Will try find the link.


    Perhaps 10 across on the 777 has become more acceptable because people are not complaining enough about nine across on the 787. I sat briefly on a Y seat on the 787 on QR a few weeks ago and it was truly horrible. I would stay at home before I put myself through that ordeal.


    Have you noticed it’s always the same people who complain about tighter seating who complain about higher fares?

    You pay your money and you take your choice. If you want more legroom or a wider seat, you can pay for an emergency exit seat, or, perish the thought, a premium cabin

    I don’t like economy seats. So, I pay to fly business (never full price, mind you). End of.


    Cityprofessional, are you saying we proles at the back are lucky to even use the same plane as you, let alone complain about the steerage conditions. I rather find your post insulting to be frank. But then I figured everybody had a right to complain, even us poor people.

    I doff my cap to you sir, and sorry to have troubled you.


    I would agree with cityprofessional… I chose the airlines I fly with for their product. I tend to fly Business if I can but if not, I look for an airlines that is actually giving some consideration (and “space”) to it’s economy flyers.

    In other words, on a Zurich-Singapore flight I’ll go for Singapore Airlines even if this means paying 20-30% more than Swiss (Eco or Business, same same… SQ is way better than LX).

    The only trouble is that the choice is becoming quite limited…


    I was always led to believe Emirates would never attain a 5 star rating whilst squeezing 10 across in their 777s. Does this mean an impending downgrade for Qatar. As per the norm, the ultimate decision makers never have to experience or endure the discomfort of 10 abreast on these aircraft that were originally designed for a civilised 9 in Y class.


    At least with EK they still give a 34″ seat pitch on their ten abreast 777’s which is way above the norm. So they are squeezing with one way but at least giving a little back in another.

    I’m guessing QR will keep the 31-32″ legroom on their ten abreast 777’s so one is squeezed from every direction. IMHO cannot be any worse that the nine abreast on the NightmareLiner.


    Yes, QR will retain the 31-32 ins of legroom. But the seats (on this one particular aircraft) are the slim, lightweight Recaro 3710 type which KLM started to introduce late last year.

    As for EK … well in the early days it did provide 34 ins of legroom to compensate for introducing 10-abreast B777 seating.

    But over the years, EK has removed some of the legroom so the new official figure is 32-34 ins depending on the B777-300ER variant.


    I suspect this is the price to be paid for low fares in economy.

    The 5* big really only applies to premium cabins as I see it.

    A matter of time before BA goes to 10 across. It was hinted at in their results presentation last week.

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