Holy crammed-in-coach, Batman!
Air Canada has configured its latest Boeing 777-300ER with 458 seats, in three classes. How in the world? Airline Reporter tells how, and we wouldn’t want to be stuck in coach.
We’ve been writing for some time the Boeing 747-8I is squeezed from the bottom by the -300ER and from the top by the Airbus A380, but this configuration on the -300ER is pretty extreme. Boeing claims seating of 467 for its 747-8I when it compares its Very Large Aircraft with the A380 (a configuration that is unrealistic–it should be 405 in typically airline layout).
Seatguru.com has this illustration of Air Canada’s -300ER seating.
Airline Reporter doesn’t say who makes Air Canada’s new coach seats. Recaro seems to be a popular supplier, providing its slimline seats to Qatar and Alaska Airlines, among others. We’ve been in Alaska’s Recaro-equipped coach class and while AS touts these as state-of-the-art comfort, we were less impressed. There was little lower back support unless sitting firmly in the seat, and the recline isn’t enough unless you slouch. The headrest is in the wrong position for good neck support (for a 6-footer). We also sat in Qatar’s Recaro coach seat when the airline showed its first Boeing 787 off to media and invitees, and we weren’t impressed then, either. Slimline design notwithstanding, it was still cramped. On the other hand, Qatar uses BE Aerospace-designed fancy business class seats and these were the first we’d seen where you don’t have to be an engineer to figure out the controls, figuratively speaking.
Since we started out with a Hollywood saying, we’ll end with one. Coach class on international flights, especially considering 17 inch wide seats and narrow seat pitch: as Danny Glover’s character in Lethal Weapon said, “I’m too old for this [stuff].”