Qatar Airways is introducing 10-across seating in economy on their Boeing 777s. New planes will come into service 10-across and existing aircraft will be retrofitted to 10-across by the end of 2016.
Emirates is already 10-across on their 777s.
Delta remains 9-across and hasn’t announced plans to change.
So why do we say that the Middle East airlines are better? And why do people think that the Middle East carriers don’t consider economics in their fleet planning thus they’re unfair competitors, offering a subsidized passenger experience that’s supposed to be unfair to US airlines?
Meanwhile, major US airlines are nearly all fully flat in international business class. Here’s American’s Boeing 787 business class seat, which is the same as what they’re putting into retrofitted Boeing 777-200s:
American’s 777-300ERs offer 4 seats across with all aisle access. Emirates’ 777-300ERs offer seven seats across and seats aren’t even fully flat.
The Emirates regional product I flew Male – Colombo and Colombo – Dubai earlier in the year was six seats across in first class.
Unquestionably Emirates’ catering is better than United’s, Delta’s, or American’s. And their cabins are full of bling.
Emirates offers a fully flat business class on their Airbus A380. And an onboard bar.
But an onboard bar isn’t a reason to choose an airline. A first class shower is amazing, of course.
That shower makes us think that the product is better, but in fact across much of the fleet of the big Middle Eastern airlines, and for most passengers on the plane, it isn’t obviously so.
There’s a halo effect from the over-the-top front cabins. But US airlines can compete and win against the Middle East airlines. So they should shut up and stop complaining, they’re subsidized too. Instead focus on their assets and work to do better. Don’t whine to government to try to reduce options and raise prices on US consumers.