United retiring all of it's 747s, Jamming an extra seat per row into it's 777s...

bye bye 747

United announced today that they're retiring all of their 747s by 2018. They've changed their orders at Boeing to convert some of their 787 orders into 777-300ER planes to reflect the accelerated retirement schedule. There's another little nugget of info over here, that suggests Boeing gave them some very steep discounts to prevent them from buying any of Bombardier's new C-series jets.

I love the 747. While the Airbus A380 double-decker recently came along and redefined the word "jumbo jet", that little upstairs on the 747 has an intimate, tree-fort kind of feeling that's completely lost on the A380.

747 upstairs "tree fort"

Because both the 747 and the A380 have 4 engines, they tend to use more fuel and were therefore fast-tracked for replacement by newer, lighter, 2-engine planes back when gas was $5 a gallon. Now that it's half that, the pressure to get rid of them is off a bit. So this announcement seems a bit odd to me given that British Airways recently announced that they're going to keep their 747s for another decade...

There's a great image over here that shows a comparison of the various plan models sizes and distances.

time to go on a diet...

In unrelated news, United also announced that they're going to add an extra seat per row on 19 of their 74 777s (going from 9-abreast to 10-abreast). The configuration will be 3-4-3, so more couples-friendly 2-5-2 layout is going away.

Further, there are rumors floating around that the internal layout of the 777s they have on order will also be 10-abreast in Economy. Their new Business Class on these 777s seems like an attempt to jam more people in but still technically provide all seats with "direct aisle access". United isn't confirming any of these rumors for now...


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