British Airways plans to add an extra 52 seats to its B777s in a new economy-class configuration that will mean fewer toilets per passenger, according to latest reports from London.
The Independent says the British airline will start in 2018 with planes based at Gatwick and then will move on to the Heathrow-based fleet.
The B777 (Boeing 777) is one of British Airways’ major long-haul aircraft. Emirates is the world’s biggest operator of the B777; Qantas has none.
The Independent says travellers who are used to “reasonable elbow room” in economy will find they have less space. BA currently configures economy nine-abreast, but from 2018 each row will have 10 abreast.
Meanwhile humans, including airline passengers, get steadily bigger and fatter. On average, that is.
The paper says that accommodating almost a fifth more people means one toilet for every 30 passengers, compared with 25 passengers now – unless BA decides to add more toilets, but there’s no report of that.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, is said to have told investors: “We’re responding to a market opportunity” which would let BA “lower the average cost per seat, charge a lower price and stimulate demand”.
A BA spokesperson told the paper: “We are updating our 777 cabins to bring us into line with many of our competitors.”
Emirates, Air New Zealand and Etihad are among carriers already using 10-abreast configuration in B777 economy-class. Economy seat rows are configured 3x4x3 (with x representing the aisle) rather than the roomier 3x3x3 used by Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
BA is also reported to be adding another 12 extra seats on its short-haul A320s operating from Heathrow.
Written by Peter Needham