Say goodbye to this much space as Boeing plans to squeeze the toilet to install more seats. Photo: Kristoferb / Wikimedia
If you thought seating in economy is getting too tight, get ready for this one: Boeing has announced plans to shrink the last private seat on the plane, reducing lavatory space on the 777-300ER to make room for 14 more seats in economy! The plan would also be used for the stretched 777X series that's coming.
Other makers and airlines have looked at toilet space before; Delta reduced the 3x3 size that's been standard a couple of years ago, taking space from the area behind the sink. Airbus has done a similar fit that gives easyJet another row of seats, and some airlines that fly primarily short flights have even had some lavatories removed.
The new Boeing configuration, announced ahead of the Paris Air Show, is a hot selling point for airlines, who are concerned on the one hand to meet growing demand for air travel, and on the other hand not to be expanding fleets too rapidly. "The market reaction has been good—really positive," according to Boeing's 777 General Manager, Elizabeth Lund.
Getting more passengers in a plane is the sweet spot for many airlines. An article here on Gumbo a couple of weeks ago detailed plans for more seats in a number of new planes, and as far back as late 2013 we identified seat squeeze as one of AA's strategies for post-merger profit.