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Cathay Pacific, one of the premier Asian carriers that’s known for its luxe first and business-class products, is about to cram even more passengers into the economy cabin. We’ve known that the carrier has been thinking about it since at least last year, but now we have more details. Cathay Pacific announced that it’s going to join the likes of other carriers that feature 10-across seating in economy, reducing seat width for each of its passengers.

The Hong Kong-based carrier is set to reconfigure 48 long-haul 777 aircraft (adding either 19 or 28 seats for a total of 296 or 368 passengers) and 17 of its short-haul 777 aircraft (adding 40 seats for a total of 438 passengers). On its long-haul 777s, Cathay’s economy seats are currently 18.5 inches wide, however, with the reconfiguration of the cabin and the addition of one more seat per row, each seat will shrink in width to 17.2 inches, pitch will remain the same at 32 inches.

Economy passengers are sure to be frustrated with the new 3-4-3 configuration of the cabin, but it’s not all bad news. With the new arrangement, Cathay is also updating its in-flight entertainment for economy passengers. The seatback IFE screens will be 12 inches and the box will be hidden inside the seats so legroom isn’t obstructed by the IFE box. In addition, Cathay is updating its 777s with more personal storage and Wi-Fi, which are surely welcome improvements.

As a point of comparison, there are quite a few airlines that offer 10-abreast in their economy cabins. For example, United’s new 777-300ER aircraft, which has its new Polaris cabin at the front of the plane but features 10 seats per row in economy. Other carriers that also offer (or have announced that they’re going to offer) 10-across seating on the 777 include British Airways, EVA Air, Emirates, Air France and Qatar, among others.

The project to reconfigure a total of 65 777s is expected to take three years and will begin around the middle of next year. TPG Community Manager JT Genter flew Cathay’s 777 between Chicago and Hong Kong and enjoyed the carrier’s nine-across seating. Sadly, however, the days of 9-abreast coach cabins seem to be numbered.

H/T: South China Morning Post

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