Austrian Airlines Boeing 777s Getting More Seats

Austrian Airlines Boeing 777s Getting More Seats

22

Austrian Airlines has revealed plans to reconfigure its Boeing 777s. While this is being marketed as an increase in premium economy capacity, this comes at a cost, naturally.

Austrian adds premium economy, reduces business class

Austrian Airlines will be making changes to the layout of its six Boeing 777-200ERs, which are the largest planes in the Vienna-based carrier’s fleet. These changes are expected to occur in early 2023 — planes will be reconfigured between January and May, so that all planes feature the new layouts for the peak summer schedule.

What changes are coming to Austrian’s Boeing 777 layout?

  • Business class will go from 40 seats to 32 seats (reduction of eight seats)
  • Premium economy will go from 24 seats to 40 seats (increase of 16 seats)
  • Economy will go from 244 to 258 seats (increase of 14 seats)

In other words, the 777s will be losing eight business class seats but gaining 30 seats between premium economy and economy, for a net increase of 22 seats. Total capacity will go from 308 seats to 330 seats. Austrian only began installing premium in late 2017, and it seems the product is performing better than the airline expected.

Austrian is significantly increasing its premium economy cabin

How Austrian’s 777 layout is changing

It’s interesting to note that this is the second major reduction to Austrian Airlines business class in recent years. When the airline started installing premium economy, that came at the expense of business class. Austrian used to have 48 seats in business class on the 777, and then it was reduced to 40 seats. Now it will be reduced by another eight seats, meaning the cabin will be one-third smaller than it was just a few years ago.

In fairness, arguably the current layout doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Austrian has one main business class cabin, and then one row of business class seats behind the second set of doors. That’s not terribly efficient, so those seats are just being ripped out, and two rows of premium economy will be put in that space. Two rows will also be removed from the forward cabin, presumably so that bathrooms or galleys can be put there.

Current Austrian Boeing 777 layout

What I can’t quite wrap my head around is where the extra economy capacity is coming from. Below is the current Austrian 777 economy seatmap, and then below that is the new Austrian 777 economy seatmap.

Current Austrian 777 economy seatmap
New Austrian 777 economy seatmap

Best I can tell, there are four rows being added to the center section of the 3-4-3 layout, while the number of seats along the windows stays the same, with the exception of a pair of two seats at the back right of the jet.

Is Austrian ripping out galleys and/or lavatories in the center of the economy cabin, or how exactly are four rows of seats being added there? Is legroom just being reduced in the center section, but not along the windows?

Bottom line

Austrian is densifying its Boeing 777s, increasing capacity by 22 seats. As part of this project, the airline will be reducing business class capacity by eight seats, and increasing premium economy capacity by 16 seats and economy capacity by 14 seats.

When you step back and consider how Austrian used to have 48 business class seats on the Boeing 777, this is quite a reduction in business class capacity. I guess premium economy is working really well for Austrian, while business class is proving more difficult.

What do you make of Austrian reconfiguring its jets?

Conversations (22)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Jerry Wheen Member

    Mostly based in Vienna (VIE) and flying 100+k miles a year I essentially stopped flying Austrian long haul when they were one of the first to put 10 seats a row in Economy - from 3-3-3 to 3-4-3 - 15 years ago with painful low seat pitch, too.

    As a point of comparison, United's current long-haul 777-200 configuration features 50 seats in business, while Austrian is now going down from 40 to 32? Curious...

    Mostly based in Vienna (VIE) and flying 100+k miles a year I essentially stopped flying Austrian long haul when they were one of the first to put 10 seats a row in Economy - from 3-3-3 to 3-4-3 - 15 years ago with painful low seat pitch, too.

    As a point of comparison, United's current long-haul 777-200 configuration features 50 seats in business, while Austrian is now going down from 40 to 32? Curious to see whether/how they'll continue to price themselves out of actually selling business on the Asian routes where there is ample competition.

  2. Karl Guest

    OS's 777s are pretty old too, having inherited them Lauda. OS used to be on par with Swissair but LH has starved them of resources and has delayed fleet renewal. A Dreamliner would seemingly be a perfect fit for them.

    And VIE while not nearly as bad a FRA has to be my least favorite airport in CEE after BUD.

  3. Stuart Guest

    The only two markets that Austrian has true need for J at current levels is on EWR and NRT with the 777. BKK, LAX, and ORD are primarily leisure. Even on EWR and NRT the need is minimal. In many ways the 777 is not ideal for OS and they would be much better with a smaller wide body to eventually upgrade the 767 and eliminate the 777 all together. In fact, there were rumors...

    The only two markets that Austrian has true need for J at current levels is on EWR and NRT with the 777. BKK, LAX, and ORD are primarily leisure. Even on EWR and NRT the need is minimal. In many ways the 777 is not ideal for OS and they would be much better with a smaller wide body to eventually upgrade the 767 and eliminate the 777 all together. In fact, there were rumors that the 777 would be scrapped at the start of Covid. This is nothing more than trading the reality that they will forgo any cheap leisure or redemptions on NRT and EWR so as to allow for the leisure 777's (like BKK) to have a more sustainable number of seats.

    I give them credit for making moves towards waiting for new aircraft eventually. It's not easy running an airline in a smaller market like Austria and finding the sweet spot. They have a great team and I am quite sure they know what they are doing on this.

  4. Scudder Diamond

    It looks to me like they're moving PE to the left of door 2, and everything aft of it will be economy. (Note where the wing is marked on the two seatmaps.

  5. David Guest

    The 777 has over the years gone from one of my favorite aircraft to least desirable unless you can snag a PE or business seat. Y has become too dense, cramped, and a miserable experience.

  6. Frederik Guest

    In my opinion, business class has gone too luxurious on most airlines and priced itself out of most non corporate personal leisure budgets. I liked business class with the big old armchair seats and slightly better food a decade ago, I do not need fancy beds, doors and Michelin over elaborated food. I am premium economy now where once I was happy to pay extra for business class, but when it is often 3 or...

    In my opinion, business class has gone too luxurious on most airlines and priced itself out of most non corporate personal leisure budgets. I liked business class with the big old armchair seats and slightly better food a decade ago, I do not need fancy beds, doors and Michelin over elaborated food. I am premium economy now where once I was happy to pay extra for business class, but when it is often 3 or 4 times the price of long haul premium economy, and service levels have still not recovered to pre Covid with many carriers and routes.

    1. Brad Guest

      I so agree and am right there with you. I do not need the doors. I want a comfortable well padded seat and leg room/leg rest. Tasty meals thoughtfully presented and warm service. J Class is just through the roof for this guy (retired guy)

    2. John Dogas Guest

      You still think Business class is about the seat. It’s not. It’s about the bed. Yes, the bed is why people pay good money for it. We do need a bed. It’s 2022.

      JFK to VIE was $2700 RT in business pre Covid. Same fare as Lufthansa to Germany but with better seats and better food.

    3. Frederik Guest

      It is not John.

      Maybe it is about a bed to small people. I do not pay to lay in a coffin with a door and foot crypt to complete the full underground coffin experience, it is all about width of seat and legroom (I am an ex hockey player).

  7. Donna Diamond

    Maybe the Premium Economy seats are selling better because the Business Class product is weak. I hope the Austrian public and other potential passengers will speak with their wallets and spend elsewhere to nip this trend of densifying cabins in the bud.

    1. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      Likely insufficient J cabin demand - how much business travel is to/through Vienna? Have to wager a lot of their traffic is driven by tourism - people paying out of their own pockets are going to opt for Prem Exon.

    2. Donna Diamond

      @Tipsy- I do a lot of travel in Business Class to the EU and these cabins have more tourists than business travelers.

    3. DCAWABN Guest

      Specifically on Austrian or just in general? Because we're specifically talking about Austrian and generalized "I do a lot of traveling so I know things" DYKWIA bullshit posturing means absolutely nothing. Do you also have access to each passenger's life story such that you KNOW they're tourists? Do you have access to Austrian's manifests to know fare buckets of all the passengers? Just shut up.

    4. TravelinWilly Diamond

      DCAWABN, do you have sand in your vagina?

      Because you sound like you have sand in your vagina.

    5. Ralph4878 Guest

      @tipsy - Austrian has great connectivity to Eastern Europe, and if I'm traveling there from North America or Asia, which is normally where I'm coming from, I'd much prefer to connect through VIE after flying on Austrian than, say, WAW or KRK on LOT Polish, or even BA, AF, or KL (given the length of inter-European flights to EE from LHR, CDG, or AMS). Swiss is another great option to Eastern Europe...I prefer them and Austrian over Lufthansa.

    6. John Dogas Guest

      Everyone has known for years that most people in business outside of trips to Asia are tourists who use miles, upgrade certificates, status, or just pay for business when it’s on sale or at the airport if a deal is available. I wish airlines would be honest that very few people in business are on business.

  8. Scott Guest

    Believe it was Gary Leff from VFtW who told me about 7-10y ago on his blog that I was crazy to think Premium Economy was going to become the old recliner business class in regards to number of seats and would begin to take away from lie flat J as F would go away as well.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Gary is being Gary. Full of it most of the time but a very good drama queen.
      He sold his soul to clicks and ads. He writes everything that drives clicks and income, aka. a good blogger.

    2. Dominic Kivni Guest

      Gary is constantly advocating for more international long-haul first class because it's supposedly going to be a moneymaker, when every airline in the world is either removing it entirely (Korean, Asiana, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad), reducing the number of seats (Singapore, BA, Emirates) or reducing the number of planes that it's on (Qatar). That's the thing about bloggers, they're talking about it from a blogger point of view (hence the many complaints about seats not giving...

      Gary is constantly advocating for more international long-haul first class because it's supposedly going to be a moneymaker, when every airline in the world is either removing it entirely (Korean, Asiana, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad), reducing the number of seats (Singapore, BA, Emirates) or reducing the number of planes that it's on (Qatar). That's the thing about bloggers, they're talking about it from a blogger point of view (hence the many complaints about seats not giving a great window view), not from business / luxury leisure passengers' point of view (the customer segments for J and F that the airline is targeting, since those guys pay cash not saver award redemptions) or the airlines point of view (they need to make money, and generally more premium service doesn't earn enough of a revenue premium to justify it)

  9. ladyolives Guest

    Austrian was among the first airlines to densify their 777 economy class cabins and go 10 across, around 2013-2014. Even though the airline is not profitable (it has a great franchise and pretty good service, notably compared to its parent), but the long haul fleet is aging. Is there a plan to replace the 777 and 767 fleet?

    1. Jerry Wheen Member

      That densifying their 777 happened way earlier than 2013-2014: latest 2007. It cost them tens of thousands of €/$ of business of mine which went to TK and UA mostly.

    2. Mark Guest

      B777 3-4-3 layout was on AA for awhile (had 2-5-2 but then densified it and changed it to 3-4-3). UAL did it in 2017 I believe. That layout is absolutely terrible

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

David Guest

The 777 has over the years gone from one of my favorite aircraft to least desirable unless you can snag a PE or business seat. Y has become too dense, cramped, and a miserable experience.

6
TravelinWilly Diamond

DCAWABN, do you have sand in your vagina? Because you sound like you have sand in your vagina.

2
Eskimo Guest

Gary is being Gary. Full of it most of the time but a very good drama queen. He sold his soul to clicks and ads. He writes everything that drives clicks and income, aka. a good blogger.

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT