Lonely Planet Writer

United Airlines reconfigures planes to seat ten abreast on domestic routes

United Airlines is to begin reconfiguring 19 of its 74 Boeing 777s to accommodate ten seats across each economy class row on its domestic routes.

United Airlines is to retrofit 19 of its Boeing 777 fleet so that it can accommodate 10 seats abreast in economy class
United Airlines is to retrofit 19 of its Boeing 777 fleet so that it can accommodate ten seats abreast in economy class Image by Aero Icarus / CC BY-SA 2.0

The extra seating will be refitted on nine planes which mostly used on the routes to and from Hawaii.

The other ten aircraft to be refitted are being moved from the carrier’s long-haul international routes. The MailOnline reports that the seating format will change to 3-4-3 formation from the current 2-5-2 configuration. For passengers in those areas, it will mean a seat width reduction of an inch to 17 inches. And while elbow room may be affected, leg room is expected to stay the same.

The changes, which are due to begin in May, will see capacity on those 777s rise to 364 seats. This number includes 336 in coach and 28 in business class on the modified aircraft, according to Today in the Sky. The airline will take advantage of its redesign work to add in-seat power outlets across the cabin, while also Wi-Fi enabling it. Mobile device holders for phones will also be installed.

Many of the major airlines now have ten seats abreast across their economy class to increase revenue potential from each aircraft
Many of the major airlines now have ten seats abreast across their economy class to increase revenue potential from each aircraft Image by David Becker / CC BY 2.0

The retrofitting will begin within two months and will be finished by next year, according to the Chicago-based airline. The 777s which continue to fly on international routes will stay the same with a total of up to 269 seats. In business class, the airline is to replace the recliner seats with flatbed seats on the current domestic 777s.

United’s website explains that they have four versions of Boeing 777-200 in operation, with two flying between the US and Europe and another configured differently. A fourth flies to Hawaii with a capacity of 344 passengers per flight.

Air France, Eithad, Emirates and Japan airline already use the ten seats per row on some or all of their Boeing 777s, giving them the potential to earn more revenue on each flight.