The largest expert travel community:
  • 708,478 Total members
  • 8,493 Users online now
  • 1,634,210 Threads
  • 29,017,147 Posts

Why the Dreamliner’s Window Seats Seem Narrowest of All

Why the Dreamliner’s Window Seats Seem Narrowest of All
Jennifer Billock

Sorry, window seat flyers – you may be getting screwed out of seat space that middle and aisle seats get.

We’ve all got our preferred seats on planes. For some that means the window, where passengers have an expansive view outside and a nicely placed wall to lean against when they’re tired. But for some window seat devotees, they’re actually getting robbed of seat space other flyers get because of the way the aircraft is designed.

The problem stems from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which on long-haul flights can be anything but a dream. Window seaters every three or four rows have to fight against the bulge of the plane structure between windows in order to get comfortable. The wall in those seats pushes in right up against the passenger’s shoulder, making it impossible to have a comfortable flight – because you’re either feeling jammed against a wall or holding your arms in an awkward position to keep the pressure off one side and stay out of your neighbor’s space on the other side.

The Dreamliner had been marketed as having superior comfort levels, but when it comes down to numbers, the Dreamliner has the least room for seating in economy than other long-haul and ultra-long-haul jets at only 17.5 inches width per seat.

“The nine-abreast 787 economy seating on an aircraft frequently used for long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights gives passengers less space than any other jet — even the previous lead standard of a 10-abreast 777,” Runway Girl deputy editor John Walton said. “Nine-abreast on a Dreamliner means a seat width of 17” or below, narrower even than a short-haul 737, an aircraft for which the six-abreast cabin diameter dates back to the 1950s’ Boeing 707.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (6)


  1. strickerj

    December 4, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I always try to catch a ride on every new aircraft type, but between the issue of the crew controlling the window tint and now this, I think I’ll be avoiding the 787.

  2. Xnuiem

    December 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I have heard about the crew controlling the tint, but after several flights, AA & BA, it has not been an issue once.

  3. Agremeister

    December 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    First of all, it’s completely false that the 787 in 9 abreast has narrower seats than a 777 in 10 abreast. 17.5 inches is wider than 17, which is standard in the 10 abreast 777s. You can find do the math:

    the 777 has a 230 inch wide cabin, and 10 abreast. Ignoring aisles, thats 23 inches per seat.
    the 787 has a 216 inch wide cabin, and 9 abreast. Again ignoring aisles, that’s 24 inches per seat.

    As well, I disagree that the walls of the 787 are too close to the seats; to the contrary I find that the 787 wall is easier to lean on to get sleep than on most other airplanes which have flimsy window covers and deeply inset windows.

  4. eng3

    December 5, 2017 at 9:14 am

    The author of this article and the one where this article was copied from must not fly very much, at least not in economy. Virtually every aircraft type on every airline has this issue. It comes from squeezing more rows and misaligned windows to seats or missing windows. If you sit in a window seat you will always have less room. The curvature of the plane causes you to lose some leg room. If the window is misaligned, you’ll lose some shoulder room. Ofcourse it is more noticeable if your seat width is less, like on the 777 or 767 10 across seating.

  5. jrpallante

    January 4, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Everybody talks about seat width, but the corollary is shrinking armrests. On United 777s with 9-across seating, the seat width is 18 inches, for combined width of 162 inches per row. On the newer 777s with 10-across seating, the average seat width is 17 inches, for combined width of 170 inches. Where did they find 8 extra inches? Assuming the aisle widths are similar (i.e., the width of the drink cart), they have basically taken 1 inch off of each armrest. I have no problem fitting my butt into a 17-inch seat, but my shoulders are 22 inches wide, and I am certainly not a giant. This means my shoulders must intrude into my neighbor’s space in economy class. I have long lobbied for a premium economy seat with greater width, not just a couple inches more leg room. If the 777 had a few rows with maybe 8 seats across, I would gladly pay a premium. I think there is room in the market for something between a $1,200 coach seat to Europe and a $6,000 business class seat. EVA offers such a seat called Elite Class. I have not actually seen it, but it sounds similar to a domestic first class seat. I wonder what success EVA has had in selling these seats for a premium, rather than giving them away as free upgrades for pax with status?

  6. Matt4

    January 10, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    jrpallante : armrest width doesn’t matter when calculating seat width. The next time you (unfortunately) fly a 10 across 777 you will notice than aisles are very narrow if compared to the 9 across version…
    What EVA Air calls Elite class is commonly known as premium economy and available on many airlines…
    I’m sorry to know that you think you have to pay $6000 to fly business class between USA and Europe as you can find very good tips to pay far less and very good deals either on FlyerTalk or some blogs like GodSaveThePoints…

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Boeing

AA Is Aggressively Retiring Its 737s

Jeff EdwardsMarch 20, 2018

Boeing Wants to Produce A Plane Every 10 Hours in 2020

Meg ButlerFebruary 19, 2018

Bigger Planes for Shorter Routes?

Jennifer BillockFebruary 13, 2018

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.