So recently there’s been speculation that CX is considering re-configuring their long-haul 777-300ER’s to seat 10 abreast in economy in a 3-4-3 layout. This would reduce the seat width from 18.5 inches (in the current 9 abreast) to 17 inches in 10 abreast. For comparison, Singapore Airlines currently has 9 abreast with each seat being 19 inches wide. CX said that after surveying passengers, they were considering increasing seat density in economy and compensating passengers with perks such as in-flight WiFi and a snack bar.
I’m not sure what internet-obsessed passengers were willing to sacrifice comfort for WiFi, but obviously they’re not the brightest bulb in the box. I’m also not sure how CX thinks a higher-density economy adds to their recent brand-facelift or their “life well travelled” motto. People fly CX not necessarily because they like HKG as a transit hub, but because CX provides service that is better than EK and at least on par with SQ. Slap in 10 abreast on long-haul 77W economy and travellers will likely migrate to other carriers.
To be honest, I don’t think CX is stubborn enough to increase cabin density, even though other carriers such as ANA, China Eastern, and China Airlines have chosen to cram 10 abreast on the 773. They’re incessantly in a heads-to-heads competition with rival SQ, though SQ is at a disadvantage due to the fact that they can’t operate as many flights to North America because of distance.
I’ve never seen the results of the survey that CX sent out, but I’m sure that a large majority of travellers would not be willing to sacrifice seat width for minor in-flight perks. SQ still has 9 abreast in economy on their 77W’s, and CX surely will not do anything to sabotage the advantage they have over SQ at the moment. Rest assured in that we’ll probably still have 9 abreast in economy on CX’s 77W’s.
Link to the article in SCMP (HK’s local English newspaper)