Recently, there has been plenty of moves to go from a 3-3-3 configured Boeing 777 (both the -200 and -300 variants) to a 3-4-3 configured version. Using Qatar Airways as an example, they announced in 2015 that their newly delivered 777-300ERs (i.e the ones that will come with QSuites) would feature 3-4-3 economy class seating in addition to reconfiguring their current Boeing 777-300ER fleet. Also, United has been one of the US airlines which stuck with a 3-3-3 layout on some of their Boeing 777-200s but switched to an “industry standard” 3-4-3 with their new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
Sadly, we have another airline that’s going over to the dark side of 3-4-3 economy seating on Boeing 777s : British Airways
But first, the good news! Note that the following enhancements would first be appearing on their Boeing 777 fleet situated at Gatwick.
New economy seats, larger IFE screens and USB ports
British Airways would be introducing a brand new IFE onboard it’s Boeing 777-200 fleet with a screen size of 10″. If you look closely, there’s a USB C port included beside the standard USB A port making it rather future proof. Off the top of my head, no other airlines have implemented a USB C charging port on their IFE platforms. So kudos to British Airways for planning to do so!
An interesting point to note in their press release was the mention of fleet wide Wi-Fi, so that’s something to look forward to in the years to come.
And now the bad news.
All Boeing 777s moving to a 3-4-3 seating
In their press release, there was no mention of the seating configuration of economy class moving from a 3-3-3 to a 3-4-3 except maybe hinting in this particular line :
The World Traveller cabin in the fleet’s four class 777s will see an additional 12 seats added.
Increase in seats in the world traveller cabin? There’s only two ways to do that :
- Decrease seat pitch
- Increase seating density
Scanning through their press release photos, it was then that it was clearly seen that the method they’ve employed was by increasing their seating density from a 3-3-3 to a 3-4-3 layout and probably through decreasing seat pitch too.
As you can clearly see, there is a grand total of 10 seats across each row in economy. So much for enhancements pfft.
Edit :They’re also removing the power sockets that are currently available in their World Traveller cabin with this revamp, meaning you’ll only have access to USB power in the future. I’m hoping that the USB C outlets supports Power Delivery and thus could sustain a charge on laptops which are chargeable via USB C. )
Now you must be wanting to ask me at this point in time. “But these changes are only applicable to their Boeing 777 fleet situated in Gatwick. The Boeing 777-300ER operated by BA16 and BA15 only flies to and from Heathrow and Sydney”.
All the way at the end of their press release, was a single liner stating that their Heathrow fleet would also be receiving the newly designed World Traveller seats come 2019. We can only assume that it would also be moving from a 3-3-3 to a 3-4-3 cause, well British Airways.
Heathrow’s Boeing 777 fleet will be fitted with the new World Traveller seat from autumn 2019.
Currently, the Boeing 777-300ER flying the London-Singapore-Sydney route is laid out in a 3-3-3 in World Traveller. So you’ll still be able to enjoy the comforts of their 3-3-3 layout while flying to and from London and Sydney in the next year. Here’s the current World Traveller cabin on the Boeing 777-300ER.
British Airways has been constantly performing cost cutting measures ever since Alex Cruz took over the helm of the company and the cost of flying with British Airways have stayed the same or increased in some markets even.
The latest changes to their World Traveller and World Traveller Plus does have some positives, mainly the inclusion of a USB C charging port as well as a larger screen. However, this still does not sufficiently compensate for the decrease in seat width that would be forthcoming. Hopefully even with this move, there won’t be additional service cuts going forward.
(Cover photo courtesy of British Airways)