Browsing Tag: economy

OE-LVN, an Austrian Airlines Fokker 100 parked at VIE.

OE-LVN, an Austrian Airlines Fokker 100 parked at VIE

Previously: Flying Economy on a Turkish Airlines Airbus A321

The second leg of our honeymoon tour around Europe took us from Vienna to Budapest on board a plane that brought back lots of childhood memories, the Fokker 100. I flew in F100s extensively when they were part of American’s fleet, always looking forward to being able to say “Fokker” without getting in trouble. Little did I know that I might have taken my last flight ever on any Fokker (*snicker*)…

A brand new EVA Boeing 777-300ER, currently the most popular 777 aircraft, at Paine Field (with 9-abreast economy)

A brand-new EVA Boeing 777-300ER, currently the most popular 777 variant, at Paine Field (with nine-abreast economy)

In October 2015, it appeared that Cathay Pacific was ‘flirting’ with the idea of changing its long-haul 777 economy class from a 9-abreast to a 10-abreast cabin. This appears to be correct, since Cathay Pacific gauged the responses of some of its most loyal Marco Polo customers in a recent survey to see whether they would accept a 3-4-3 configuration on their long-haul 777 aircraft.

BONUS: Flying a Cathay 777 Across North America in Business Class

“To understand the needs of our customers as well as the trend and development of the airline industry, Cathay Pacific periodically conducts research on different aspects of our offerings so as to continuously improve on our passenger services,” Julie Jarratt, Cathay Pacific Communications Manager explained to AirlineReporter. “Cathay Pacific, at this stage, has no decision to change the seat width and seat pitch of our 777 fleet.”

The economy cabin inside a Singapore Airlines 777

The economy cabin inside a Singapore Airlines 777

From an airline’s perspective, the rationale for a 10-abreast cabin is quite obvious. Not only does it provide a higher profit margin, by lowering its cost per seat mile, but it (theoretically) allows these savings to be put into other benefits for travelers in the form of cheaper airfares or enhanced services. In this sense, a denser cabin allows airlines to move greater numbers of passenger on fewer flights, which leads to fuel efficiency in the form of equated fuel burn reduction savings. I wanted to take a closer look at which airlines are taking delivery of the higher-density 777s, as that configuration is becoming more and more popular.

Cround crews at LAX prep an American 777-300ER for its flight to SYD.

Ground crews at LAX prep an American 777-300ER for its flight to SYD

Previously, I discussed the process and reasoning for using miles for an economy ticket on an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER from Los Angeles to Sydney. In this story, I am going to share the actual flight experience, and discuss if this was the right call… or a huge mistake.

FLYING AMERICAN DOWN UNDER: Before the Flight

American Airlines Flight 73
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Sydney Airport (SYD)
Equipment: Boeing 777-323ER
Scheduled Departure Time: 9:50pm (actual 10:21pm)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:55am+2 (actual 7:31am+2)
Scheduled Flight Time: 15 hours, 5 minutes (actual 14 hours, 9 minutes)

The day came, and we headed out to dinner before going to LAX to catch our evening flight. While taking our dinner at a leisurely pace, I checked on our flight status and realized that I had confused the departure time as being 10:50pm instead of 9:50pm; fortunately I caught my mistake with enough time to rush through our meal and still make it to the airport comfortably.

An American Airlines 777-300ER (N720AN) bound for SYD pushes back from Gate 41 at LAX.

An American Airlines 777-300ER (N720AN) bound for SYD on the inaugural flight pushes back from Gate 41 at LAX.

Less than a week after covering American Airlines’ launch of their new Los Angeles-Sydney service, I found myself onboard Flight 73 on a last-minute holiday down under. The route featured American’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER, with my personal-favorite business class seat. In spite of holding status on both American and Alaska, which would entitle me to at least a little bit more leg and elbow room in coach, I willingly (!) chose to sit in a regular economy seat for a 15-hour flight… and managed to survive.  A feat made even more impressive (or harrowing, depending on your point-of-view) by the fact that I was accompanied by my wife.

Now, I’d like to claim credit for taking one for the AirlineReporter team and be able to gloat for making the trip, but I’m not as magnanimous as my colleague JL, who flew a Spirit Airlines Bare Fare “for science.” There were very strategic, practical, and self-serving reasons for booking seats behind the curtain instead of in front of it.

I’m splitting my experience into two parts: first, about why I chose economy (this time), followed up with my actual flight review of American’s economy service to Sydney.