United Airlines announces new seating arrangement on certain planes.
Following a trend across major airlines, United Airlines has announced the carrier will retro-fit 19 of its Boeing 777’s to add one additional seat per row in the coach cabins to boost revenues, according to wfaa.com.
The airline says it will change the current 2-5-2 seating arrangement on the planes to a 3-4-3 alignment, beginning in May of this year, with the project expected to be completed by May of 2017. Boeing says among airlines ordering the 777’s last year, about half requested the 10-seat plan, which the company says was up about 30 percent from 2008’s orders.
Nine of the planned retrofits will be applied to planes used in domestic flights, mostly on those flying to and from Hawaii, while the other 10 will be from long-haul international routes. United’s new 787 Dreamliners from Boeing will be taking over more of those routes in the future.
The move will result in an increase in seating capacity to 369 seats, with 336 in the coach section and 28 in business class, up from the 269 total seating on the remaining 777’s in the fleet with the nine-across seating, some 55 aircraft.
There will be some additional perks for coach travelers, as the company plans to make Wi-Fi standard on all the planes, and they plan to add two mobile device holders, including one for phones and one for tablets at each seat. In-seat power outlets will be added throughout the cabins as well.
The seating configuration is not new, as American Airlines has some of its 777’s using the 10-across seating in the coach cabin, and some foreign carriers, such as KLM, Air France and Air New Zealand are also using the extra seating to produce additional revenue for their flights.
United also announced they would be purchasing an additional 25 737-700 airliners from Boeing, on top of the 40 they announced in January of this year, according to businessinsider.com. Analysts estimate the carrier received a major discount for the purchase of the planes, with a purchase price possibly between $20 to $25 million, on a plane listed a price tag of $80.6 million. One possible reason for the deep discounts is Boeing has a new competitor, Canada’s Bombardier, offering its C-Series jets into the market.