When Air Canada announced its B777-300ER premium economy seating last year, the news drew widespread criticism from readers (see news comments, February 2013).
These five brand new, but high-density, 458-seater aircraft remained the only planes of their type in the Air Canada fleet.
Existing B777-300ERs and B777-200LRs were still configured two-class with the economy cabin remaining at nine-across.
Now comes news, via US industry publication the Runway Girl Network, that the airline has decided to reconfigure its entire B777 fleet with premium economy along with the tighter ten-across 3-4-3 economy seating
This is for two main reasons. Firstly, the move will harmonise seating standards across the carrier’s B777 fleet.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, from Air Canada’s viewpoint the tighter seating might cut its B777 unit costs per mission by as much as 21 per cent.
But reader feedback suggests that economy passengers may not like the tighter seating. While it is true that a ten-across layout may be tolerable on six-to-eight hour flights between the Canadian East Coast and Europe, it is unlikely to prove popular on the longer stages operated by the B777-200LR, such as Vancouver to Sydney across the Pacific, which takes 15hrs 35 mins non-stop.
But there’s still ample time to sample the nine-across seating as Air Canada said the reconfiguration will take place between “late 2015 and continue throughout 2016”.