Travelling on the newest aircraft means you would expect the latest in comfort when it comes to the economy seats. Since the airlines themselves choose the seat, you may or may not get something modern.

A case in point here is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was designed to have eight abreast in economy class in a 2-4-2 configuration, but airlines figured they could make nine abreast in a 3-3-3 configuration work. One airline stands alone with the more spacious seat choice.

What Does Nine Abreast Look Like?

When I flew American Airlines recently, I found the nine abreast cabin to be fine. My experience was enhanced by the fact I had no-one sitting next to me and I was in a bulkhead seat with extra legroom.

Heftier people might have found the seats to be a bit of a squeeze, especially if all three seats in a block were occupied. In fact, some frequent flyers actively avoid the 787 due to the perception of narrow seats in economy class.

Who Has The Best Economy Seats?

One airline stands alone with their economy seats on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. These seats feature a 33″ pitch – which is the industry standard measurement from one point on a seat to the same point on the seat ahead or behind – rather than 31″ pitch. Essentially, this airline offers more leg room.

Just as important is the seat width. These seats are 48cm or 18.9 inches wide in eight abreast which is a large increase over the 43cm or 17 inch wide seats on all the other airlines with nine abreast seating. So which airline is it?

Japan Airlines is the only airline in the world to have eight abreast economy seats in the Boeing 787. In fact, they won the world’s best economy class seat at the 2017 Skytrax awards. Kudos to this oneworld alliance member for doing something different!

Overall Thoughts

Differentiation is key when it comes to airline products. Most people fly in the economy seats and the extra comfort that Japan Airlines offer for long haul passengers is excellent.

The longest Boeing 787 flight is the Qantas service from Perth to London. This clocks in at about 17 hours and yet the airline still chooses to have nine abreast in economy. I know what I’d prefer.

Have you flown on the Japan Airlines 787 in economy class? What was it like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by Tadayuki YOSHIKAWA via Aviation Wire.
Side on image via Japan Airlines.
Japan Airlines 787 by Toshi Aoki – JP Spotters via