When American announced it would roll out a slew of new features on its new 777-300ER aircraft in December, I was left with more questions than answers. Now, just a bit more info has been released, and we have some answers but not all. Oh, and we have pictures.
A picture of the new First Class cabin shows that it’s not much different than what’s out there today. It’s just cleaned up, new fabric, etc. That’s ok, because much of a change wasn’t necessary. In Business Class, however, it’s a different story.
As you can see, American is using the same reverse-herringbone style of seat that US Airways has on its airplanes. (Calm down, conspiracy theorists. This has nothing to do with a potential merger between the two.) We can now be sure that the “fully lie flat” seats are going to be flat beds. Whew.
There are also a few things we can glean from the new coach seats.
The above picture shows coach seating, and American confirms that there will be a premium economy section with the exact same seats but more legroom. It’s like American is bringing back “More Room Throughout Coach,” but not actually throughout coach.
In this picture, there are at least 4 seats uninterrupted by an aisle. That can mean one of two things. It could mean that American is sticking with the 2-5-2 configuration that it has on its 777-200s, but that would be surprising. Most airlines have moved away from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 instead because it requires fewer video power units and it allows for standardized seat sets. (United has switched to 3-3-3 as it renovates its 777 fleet.)
But this can’t be 3-3-3 because there are four together. That would most likely mean that American is moving to the increasingly popular 3-4-3 layout. I say “increasingly popular,” but I mean that only on the airline side. Passengers hate it because, naturally, it means narrower seats. That hasn’t stopped several airlines from going this route, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see American do the same.
We could try to do some math to figure out the number of seats across if American would release its planned configuration on the airplane, but it won’t. My requests were met with the response that no further information is being given at this time. What’s with all the secrecy? I don’t understand why they want to keep pushing out dribs and drabs of info.
Anything else we know? Yep. American had been saying that London would be the first to get the new 777-300ER, but now that’s not happening. The first market will now be Dallas/Ft Worth to Sao Paulo. This market is apparently doing so well for American that it’s throwing a ton of capacity into it. In June, the market goes from a daily flight to 12 weekly. And then in December, the 777-300ER will go on to the route, bringing even more capacity to the market.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Latin America gets it first. After all, that’s really where American excels. It’s almost non-existent in Asia, it’s pretty weak in Europe, but it is the king of Latin. Stick to your strengths, right?