Followup on United’s 777 Reconfiguration

Yesterday’s post on United’s upcoming 777 reconfiguration generated a bunch of emails and comments. After sifting through everything, it appears that things will be slightly different (and better) than what I wrote yesterday.

  • Inflight entertainment has to be standard throughout the plane, so there will be audio/video on demand in coach (they may charge for it in coach, but that’s unclear)

  • This upgrade requires new screens to be in coach, so there will be bigger, better screens

  • The new screens require entirely new seats which will be the latest of the slimline variety

  • I’m still not sure of the exact reasons other than for standardization and probably cost saving purposes, but they will be switching to a 3-3-3 configuration in coach

So if you’re in coach, it looks like the 777 will finally (eventually) be up to international product standards. Of course, now each different widebody will have a different experience in coach. The 767s will still have small personal screens but they’ll keep the looping movies instead of on demand. The 747s will still have the overhead screens only.

(Visited 60 times, 1 visits today)

Get Posts via Email When They Go Live or in a Weekly Digest

Leave a Reply

26 Comments on "Followup on United’s 777 Reconfiguration"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
David
Guest

This is probably quite a naive question – but why did it take United (and possibly other major US carriers) so long to get around to this ?

In a large wealthy country, with a population spread over a wide physical area, and major cities with significant money sloshing around the country, there is plenty of demand for air transport.

There is no real shortage of major airlines based in the US…. so why did it take so long to come up with seatback TV in long-haul ?

SG
Guest

As mentioned in my previous post, the primary reason for switching over to 3-3-3 was to reduce the time to market for the new seats, as they were already developed and certified in a 777 3-3-3 arrangement. The time reduction was fairly significant.

The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist
David – Not a naive question at all. A little insight in to the general mindset of most US carriers: 1) We won’t differentiate by offering more than our competitors. 2) We’ll rely on our staff to provide the “superior” experience. 3) We’ll use market studies to determine our onboard experience. 4) We’ll determine maximum value based on customer spend. 5) We’ll upgrade our product/match fares to remain competitive. 6) We did not budget/don’t have the money to address the concern. For innovative, cutting edge products and industry leading onboard service, fly Singapore, Emirates or Virgin Atlantic. In the US,… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

CF, there is nothing “better” about this for me. I bring my own IFE. The 3×3 config means the aisle B or H seat I request may be a center. I will have no choice but to go with C or G.

Robert Morein
Guest

Everyone is bringing their own IFE. Look around any flight. The business travelers are easily spotted with the Bose headsets. Most of the Gen X’s and Gen Y’s sporting some kind of iPod. Idiots with portable DVD players or even worse, DVD’s running on laptops.

These IFE systems are passé and instead they should have a highspeed wifi connection and iPads all around.

A
Guest
1) We won’t differentiate by offering more than our competitors. There are domestic US airlines doing this right now. Virgin America, Jet Blue and Frontier all have seatback TV’s in their 319/320 fleet. The problem is how many people pick a carrier based on this? Very few I would imagine. Most people buy on price and schedule alone. Only airline geeks pick a flight by aircraft type or on-board entertainment. I’m sure United has a whole research team that’s long ago figured out all the economics and knows how to save the most money. The only way to really make… Read more »
The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist
A – You’ve nailed it precisely. Bob Crandall discovered decades ago that price is most often the final argument, not whether or not the seat has a television or steak is on the menu, especially if the passenger is on corporate travel. That is the catch-all behind Point 4) We will determine maximum value based on customer spend. The customer is not necessarily the actual passenger but the corporation footing the bill. Add in the passenger’s addiction to FFY miles and the carriers have to do very little to guarantee your return business. They will avoid at literally all costs… Read more »
Trent880
Guest

I’ve never been a believer in IFE, *especially* in coach, because the truth is, there’s no reason to have it. It’s only extra weight to carry around and job security for MX. People won’t pay more for it in coach. Not even longhaul. They *say* they will pay more, but they don’t. Even when you charge for IFE in coach, you barely cover costs if you’re lucky. As someone once said, in the premium cabins, it’s all about the seat. In economy, it’s all about the fare.

Randy
Guest
The longer the flight gets, the more important amenities get, but only to a small degree. If price was the only concern, Southwest should have done better on PVD-PHX, PHL-LAX, PHL-OAK, as well as BWI to the west coast. I think that once Southwest flights hit four hours or more, some people start shopping around for something a little more comfy, especially the business travelers who pay the bills. Our entire conversation seems to have focused around grandma or the college student who shops on Orbitz and only cares about low fares. Business travelers are a bit more attuned to… Read more »
Randy
Guest
Southwest was always more about local traffic with connections being a side benefit from naturally occurring connecting opportunities. Their focus may have changed over the years, but BWI should have provided decent feed to certain degree. I still have an image of them and the cattle call. Not such a bad thing on a one hour flight, but dreadful on a transcon. Southwest didn’t have Business Select and it’s automatic A boarding priority when they did the transcons, so the business traveler who shows 30 minutes before a flight would have been in a center seat, while grandma paying one-third… Read more »
The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist

Oooooo, Cranky! Don’t set yourself up like that, guy!

How MUCH more?

qtip
Guest

3x3x3 is dumb since the sum of the number of “climbovers” (2+1+1+1+2 = 7) required is higher than in 2x5x2 (1+1+2+1+1 = 6).

The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist

I hear ya on the fares, Cranky…..I’m looking at Prague this Summer but even London from DFW is $1500 r/t right now. I’ll wait and see cuz that kinda money the won’t get from me!

Gatlinburg
Guest

Along needed change for sure, and at 6’5″ I think I will appreciate th extra legroom the new generation slim style seats might afford me!

ajarn
Guest
Does anyone know when the 777 reconfig will take place? I booked with United over other carriers due to their 2-5-2 seating in coach because I prefer the 2 seater when flying as a couple. The flights are in may – july. If I knew this was going to happen, I would have flown other carriers who offer better IFE despite having 3-3-3-. Also, one leg has allready been changed from a 777 to a 747 NRT – SFO. So, no IFE for 10 hrs. The UAL experience keeps getting better! So, any idea when I can expect to see… Read more »
boo
Guest

Does anyone know the rollout schedule for the 777 ?

ajarn
Guest
I believe the first one is getting done now. It is supposed to take 50 days or so but eventually it should take about 20 days per plane. If they do only one at a time, there should not be too many done in the next few months. Fingers crossed I still get a 2-5-2 cofig. I wonder how the advanced seat selection would work. Perhaps you select a B isle seat on the current 2-5-2 seat map and end up with a middle seat after it changes to 3-3-3. I doubt UAL will know which planes will be on… Read more »
Chris
Guest

Any update on this reconfiguration on the 777s?

kosuke
Guest

I just came back from Japan and I rode on the 777 premium to Seattle. The entertainment system in coach was updated with a touch screen and on demand video services and some games. The seet layout is 3-3-3 and there were power plugs in the bottom of the seers. The seats were also new and felt more comfortable.

wpDiscuz