British Airways. To Fly. To Densify.

Densifies 777, A320, A321 - what next?

British Airways is to cram more seats onto a large number of its aircraft.

Just when passengers got used to ancillary revenue as the big phrase, now they have a new buzzword -densification.

Densification has been around the industry for a while but now it is out in the open.

It means cramming more seats into the existing space onboard.

Different airlines can take different approaches to it.

  • add more seats per row on widebody 777 and A380 aircraft
  • add more seat rows
  • add more seats by taking out galleys and/or toilets
  • reconfigure the entire aircraft to do all the above

British Airways is densifiying

It is increasing the seating on its Gatwick based 777s from 9 across to 10 across and installing an extra two rows of seating across its Heathrow shorthaul A320/A321 fleet.


The densification of the 777s to 10 across will increase the economy seats from from 216 to 252.

The business cabin will be cut from 40 to 32 seats but the premium economy cabin will increase from 24 to 48 seats.

So the configuration will change from 40J/24W/216Y to 32J/48W/252Y, meaning an increase in total seats from 280 to 332.

The knowledgeable website says the extra 52 seats means the removal of three toilets.

If none are removed it will certainly lead to longer queues for the toilets as there will be only one for every 30 passengers compared with the current one for 25.

The changes will be introduced in early 2018.

Densification of shorthaul A320/A321 fleet

The densification of the shorthaul A320/A321 fleet will mean 2 more rows added to the cabin.

This means the A320’s seats will increase from 168 to 180 seats while the A321 will increase from 205 to 218 seats.

The more dense A320 seating will start in winter 2017, and that of the A321 in summer 2018.

British Airways continues to go down market

The moves follow a number of changes to the traditional high quality offering from British Airways that have passengers wondering where the airline is going.

Recently it has started charging for seating, baggage and soon for food on European flights.

The new CEO of British Airways, Alex Cruz, comes from the Spanish low cost carrier Vueling.

N.B. Image credit: British Airways

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British Airways (BA)