A Primer on Boeing 777 Premium Seats

A Primer on Boeing 777 Premium Seats

The Boeing 777 is the most widely operated wide-body commercial jetliner in the sky today. There are over 1,100 of these planes currently in operation with orders for many more on the way. Here’s a rundown of who’s flying them and what they are offering.

Who flies the 777?

The following table ranks the top four worldwide 777 operators, along with the number of planes they currently have.

AirlineNumber of 777s
Emirates146
United Airlines74
Air France70
Cathay Pacific70

The planes owned by Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Air France are heavily concentrated in the newer 777-300 model, while United still operates a fleet of the older 777-200 model.

Comparing the 777 Offerings of Each Airline

Here we will compare the different configurations, seats, and other amenities offered by these carriers on their 777s. While most carriers have multiple configurations of 777s, we will try to stick to the most common offered by each on long haul routes since that is what these planes are primarily designed for.

Emirates

  • First ClassEmirates has a truly amazing first class product on their 777s. There are only 8 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are fully enclosed suites with electronically sliding doors, lie-flat bed, personal mini bar, vanity table, mirror, and wardrobe. The in-flight entertainment screen is huge with a very clear picture and a huge selection of movies and music.
  • Business Class – Emirates business class is rather disappointing relative to their first class offering. The seats are arranged in a side by side 2-3-2 configuration, meaning over 40% of the seats don’t have direct aisle access. The seats are angle-flat which will make sleeping difficult for many passengers. The seats do have an excellent in-flight entertainment system like their first-class counterparts and the airline will begin replacing the angle-flat seats with lie-flat seats beginning in November 2016.

emirates business class
Enjoy your seat at Emirates business class

  • Economy Class – The economy class seats are arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration. There is 32 inches of pitch and the seats are 17 inches wide. Like the premium cabins, these seats have Emirates’ excellent in-flight entertainment system.

United Airlines

  • First Class – United has a decent first class offering, though it’s not as extravagant as some of the international airlines. Seats are arranged in an angled 1-2-1 configuration. There is not a ton of privacy when the seat is in upright mode due the lack of significant dividers or head rest covers, but when in lie-flat mode the seat does provide a comfortable and private area for sleeping. There are multiple storage compartments which allows you to keep everything out of the way and avoid clutter. The in-flight entertainment system has a good-sized screen but is a bit outdated otherwise.
  • Business Class – Business class on United is relatively inferior compared to most competitors at this point (though things will be much better when they start operating the new Polaris cabins in 2017). The seats are arranged in a crowded 2-4-2 configuration with alternate rows facing forward and backward. That means if you have an outer section seat in the second or third row of business class, the person across the aisle will be facing the opposite direction, which could make things a bit awkward. There is minimal storage around the seat. The in-flight entertainment system is similar to that in first class.
  • Economy Class – The seats in economy are arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration with 31 inches of pitch and 18 inches of width. The in-flight entertainment system is antiquated with a small screen that is barely bigger than a plus sized iPhone. Also, note that United operates an “Economy Plus” section with 5 inches of extra legroom but essentially the same amenities as standard economy.

united economy plus
Some extra legroom at EconomyPlus

Air France

  • First Class – Air France’s “La Premiere” first class offering is an exceptional product, though it’s nearly impossible to book with miles since you must be a Flying Blue elite member and they don’t offer saver level awards in F. There is only 1 row of 4 seats. The seats are very comfortable and look more like a lounge chair than an airplane seat, complete with a footrest that becomes the foot of the bed in lie-flat mode. There is a big beautiful in-flight entertainment screen.
  • Business Class – Air France’s business class is worthy follow up to its first class offering. The seats are arranged in a very private 1x2x1 reverse herringbone configuration. There is a large space for your feet. The in-flight entertainment system is modern with a touchscreen controller and a large, clear screen.

air france business class
“La Premiere” first class at Air France

  • Economy Class – The economy class seats are arranged in a cramped 3-4-3 configuration with 32 inches of pitch and 17 inches of width. The seats are modern however, with the modern touch-screen entertainment system and adjustable head rests.

Cathay Pacific

  • First Class – Cathay Pacific has one of the best first class products in the sky. There are 6 seats arranged in 2 rows of a 1-1-1 configuration. The seats are incredibly wide and when converted into a bed are among the most spacious of any first-class cabin in the world. Cathay has also updated the in-flight entertainment systems with modern touch-screen controls which are very responsive. The screen is not very large, but can be positioned to your liking since it’s mounted on an adjustable arm.

cathay pacific first class
Fly with comfort at Cathay Pacific first class

  • Business Class – Cathay Pacific’s business class offering is very private with seats arranged in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration. The in-flight entertainment is modern with a good-sized screen.
  • Cathay Pacific – The seats in economy are arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration. They have 32 inches of pitch and 18.5 inches of width, which is relatively generous for economy. The in-flight entertainment system is modern with a bright, crisp screen.

Conclusion

Being on the same type of plane does not mean you’ll be getting the same product. Each airline can customize the hardware and experience to its liking, and there certainly is quite a bit of variation out there when flying on 777s. If your goal is to get there on miles or points be sure to do your research before booking flights to make sure the product you are getting is worth the cost.