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UAL: Value Added Of Backwards Facing C Seats  
User currently offlinebavair From Germany, joined Jul 2011, 125 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17892 times:

Hi,

I haven't found anything on this topic in the search so I hope it hasn't been discussed to death already.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been able to regularly go into United aircraft and couldn't help myself but wonder why there are backwardsfacing Business seats. In the case of BA, for example, I can fully understand as it enables more isle access, although I'm not particularly fond of it. However, for UAL, it is a classic row of seats facing backwards.

One theory a friend of mine came up with is that this way less cables would have to be laid as the IFE for two rows are mounted together. However, we came to the conclusion that since the seat also needs it's own cables for power etc. there's not really much value added.

When all seats face forward, each seat can have a little space under the one in front for the passengers legs to go under which would save a little bit of space (maybe enough for an entire additional Eco row or two if you add up the entire biz class. At the same time, most people prefer moving forwards (see people's behaviour on trains).

For the layout that United has, I really can't see any value added unless it really does have to do with it being able to reduce cabelling or the number of IFE units. I hope someone can shed a bit of light on this.

Regards,

BAVair

52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineartsyman From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4745 posts, RR: 34
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17799 times:

It actually has to do with saving space. The foot well of the person facing backwards goes into the space below the tvs at the feet of the person facing forward etc. This is why the foot space isn't very wide. This saves about 18 inches per row, and allows for an extra row of seats over all front facing seating. Oddly enough, once flown in them, I have heard a lot of passengers say that they prefer the backwards facing seats. The angle is better for sleeping

User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17066 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17775 times:

Quoting artsyman (Reply 1):
I have heard a lot of passengers say that they prefer the backwards facing seats. The angle is better for sleeping

True, because the backwards facing seats will give you a slightly head up angle as airplanes fly a few degrees nose up.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25173 posts, RR: 48
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17762 times:

Yes simply put, you can fit more rows by alternating forward/rear facing.

As mentioned several reason buy additional space including - the foot rest areas are offset and essentially back into each other, also doubling up on the IFE screen consoles back to back save you space.

While initially there was some concern about customer adoption, the rear facing seats along with the perception of privacy, and sense of space is scoring higher on rear facing seats versus traditional ones forward ones.

So maybe the military was onto something besides rear facing seats also being safer.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineatcsundevil From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 1200 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 17550 times:

Rear-facing makes no difference aside from being in the lie-flat position.. As mentioned above, all aircraft take a slightly nose-up angle when in cruise, so being rear-facing means you're closer to 180°, as opposed to front-facing, which goes beyond 180° in-flight. Unless you drink enough (like me), the position makes a big difference in whether or not you actually sleep. Some aircraft with front-facing seats accommodate for this as a design feature, others do not. So, it's better than one may think...but should you be facing in a direction you don't desire, booze is a better remedy than wondering why the seat faces a weird direction. Works for me, anyway.


1954 1974 1990 2014 -- Los geht's!
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3971 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 17310 times:
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Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
the rear facing seats along with the perception of privacy, and sense of space is scoring higher on rear facing seats versus traditional ones forward ones.

Say what? I do recognize the possible benefits of the slight head elevation (I sleep facing forward, rearward and sideways), but I don't get the perception of privacy at all. I can't remember a single flight where I was facing backwards on the aisle and not, at some point, staring at someone facing forward two rows down across the aisle. That isn't privacy.

As for the sense of space, in these new United seats, unless the seat next to mine goes unused, there isn't any! There's not even storage room.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlinecaribair From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16934 times:
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I find terrible distribution of seats in UA business 2-4-2 in the 777 & 744. If you get in the the four seat in the middle you feel like in Coach. The UA 777 ex CO is complete diferent all look forward in a 2-2-2 configuration. Much more enjoyable.
There is no comparison with the sense of privacy that BA J gives you and with the new distribution in J that AA, DL or US will have , UA will be force to review their strategy very soon.


User currently offlinecosyr From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 389 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 14842 times:

I'm sure United did the measurements and it all makes sense, but only because they chose to have all the seats parallel, not staggered or angled like all the other modern business class seats. BA makes sense, because putting a backwards facing seat next to a forward one means more shoulder room, and the expense of foot room, since feet are smaller. It's obvious when you look at the swiveled drop down window between the seats, exactly what the advantage is of the BA design, and doesn't look like an issue that it is 8 across on a 777. United has all the shoulders lined up, at least in each part of the row.

I know the shoulders in the middle are lined up with the feet on the outside rows, but if you look at pictures of the cabin as a whole, the aisle does not zig zag, so I can't think they are getting quite the same advantage of alternating shoulders and feet that BA gets. Not to mention the psychological aspect of having 2 middle seats in Business Class?! I will not pay for that, but I am paying for UA's J (backward facing, since everyone says that's better for sleeping) with my wife to SYD this August, upstairs on 747. I'm going in with an open mind, but I have used the sCO J class seats and I like them. And most importantly, I like not having any risk of getting a middle seat when the tickets are upwards of $18k each!! (I do choose my seat ahead, but several annoying trips recently, UA has involuntarily moved me.)


User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 14684 times:

I flew to LHR from ORD in BA J. I was stuck in a backward seat and found it very uncomfortable. I found myself having to stare into the cabin behind J eyeball to eyeball with those folks. I also felt I was sliding down.

User currently offlinequestions From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 774 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 14548 times:

What is UA's plan for the J cabin? Will the seats be standardized, at least on common aircraft types?

User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9612 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 14548 times:

The backwards facing seats allow full flat recline at about 68 inch pitch instead of 74-78 that would be required if there is no overlap in the footwells.

Also, the width of 4 facing forward and 4 facing rearward on a row horizontally on the plane allows the seat to be wider at the shoulders. The sleeping area is tapered and provides adequate shoulder width in the sleeping orientation.
the one big problem is privacy. The middle seats are not good for privacy. Those seats offer an inferior product but usually go to nonrevs and upgrades. The 777 is worst with 25% of the seats being undesirable. The 767 is great, and the 747 has lots of other options. Last minute bookings on the 777 are bad for business passengers..



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 408 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 14245 times:

Quoting cosyr (Reply 7):
BA makes sense, because putting a backwards facing seat next to a forward one means more shoulder room, and the expense of foot room, since feet are smaller.

I totally disagree. Flying J on BA's 777 is very uncomfortable, awkward, and especially inconvenient when entering or leaving the window seat if the aisle seat is fully extended.

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 8):
flew to LHR from ORD in BA J. I was stuck in a backward seat and found it very uncomfortable. I found myself having to stare into the cabin behind J eyeball to eyeball with those folks.

On this, I totally agree. In my opinion, eight (8) across in the BA's business cabin does not compare favorably with any other airline business cabin.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25173 posts, RR: 48
Reply 12, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 13904 times:

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 5):
Say what? I do recognize the possible benefits of the slight head elevation (I sleep facing forward, rearward and sideways), but I don't get the perception of privacy at all. I can't remember a single flight where I was facing backwards on the aisle and not, at some point, staring at someone facing forward two rows down across the aisle. That isn't privacy.

As I said, the metrics seem to prove people have a perception of more spaciousness and privacy in the rearward seats.
Real or not does not matter, but its a positive perception people make.

Even before the product was rolled out there was plenty of testing including line of sight test involving seat placement and height of the IFE consoles to test things like privacy. Overall the selected configuration maximized levels of privacy and space tested.

Quoting cosyr (Reply 7):
I'm sure United did the measurements and it all makes sense, but only because they chose to have all the seats parallel, not staggered or angled like all the other modern business class seats.

Keep in mind the rows are not all parallel in single straight lines, they are offset with the rear/forward facing combination and meant to avoid people having to stare at each other.

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 8):
I found myself having to stare into the cabin behind J eyeball to eyeball with those folks.

As mentioned previously, the BA like issues was worked on carefully with the seat spacing and IFE consoles heights to minimize you ever having to stare at others.
Matter of fact UA seating blocks all line of sights to seats directly ahead of you, and only if you let your eyes wander off across the aisles can possibly observe others.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2887 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 13773 times:
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Recently I have had the opportunity (4 times) to directly from a CO BF seat to a UA backwards seat. While I love the little storage space above your head on the CO seats, I have never found them to be cushy and comfortable, and have bumps/spaces between the seat back and butt cushion when in the bed position. While I loathe the lack of storage on the UA seat, (which I solve by bringing a small nylon cinch bag of my stuff) I LOVE the comfort in the United seat in either direction. At a bit over 6 feet tall, when I stretch out on UA, neither my head or feet touch the ends, so they are longer.
The seat itself is, for me, extremely comfortable, in all of its positions, especially the bed position.
I was in a rear facing seat yesterday for a 39 minute flight from Sao Paulo to Rio. I had just gotten off a flight in a CO seat for 9 hours from EWR. I slept better in that 39 minute flight!

United was first in the USA with a flat bed, now AA and DL can come up with a better seat. While United is often derided, they historically had a superior seat. Even their old recliner was very comfortable (during the recliner era), more so than CO's BF recliner and the stone hard seat on AA. When UA does away with their backwards/forward and Global First, it will leave them with an inferior BF only hard product in the USA. Pity, just as service is improving (a bit)!



The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3624 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12963 times:

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 4):
so being rear-facing means you're closer to 180°, as opposed to front-facing, which goes beyond 180° in-flight

I don't understand why they wouldn't just take the cruise angle of the aircraft into account when designing the seats. ANA's business class seats lie at about a 177 degree angle for that reason, so it feels fully flat when you're at cruise. Why wouldn't UA design their forward facing seats this way, and their rear facing seats at a 183 degree angle? It doesn't seem like rocket science.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4216 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12660 times:

Quoting cubastar (Reply 11):
On this, I totally agree. In my opinion, eight (8) across in the BA's business cabin does not compare favorably with any other airline business cabin.

I don't find the seats all that great in BA's business class. I would rather sit in Y+ and sit forward.



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5435 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11934 times:

I still can't believe that nobody has taken even a trial run with the Thompson Cozy Suites...even just as a trial run. To me, these things makes a lot of sense. I think somebody should convert at least a single plane to see it they work in the real world.

http://www.thompsonaero.com/index.php/products/cozy-suite



What the...?
User currently offlinejayunited From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 926 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11216 times:

As an employee I have flown internationally on the 747, 767 and 777 both in forward and backward facing seats and I have to admit that the backward facing seat is better when in the full flat bed position and I think the 767 has the best layout with the 2-2-2. The 747 and 777 middle seats does make you feel like you are in coach but the reason why United went with this layout was because they wanted to keep all international aircraft in a 3 class layout this was of course prior to the merger.

Direct access to the isle in business class takes up a lot of space which is why American when they begin revamping their 777-200ER will be removing first class off those airplanes. On United IPTE 777 there are 221 seats in coach on the 777 that have the recliner type seats in business class you have 197 seats in coach. If United would have retained the 3 class cabins on their international fleet and gave all business class passenger direct access to the isle (without having to step over someone else's feet like people have to do on BA) they would have had to greatly reduce the number of seats they have in coach. What direction will United take going forward will we be a 2 class or 3 class airlines that debate is still raging on in the halls of world headquarter. But what many passengers hope for moving forward is that when the combined United revamps their international fleet probably at the end of this decade they will put a business class seat in that offers everyone direct access to the isle. Or hopefully once the A350-900 start arriving we will get some direction on what the combined United wants their business class to look like because I think the 787 for the time being will all get the CO businessfirst type seat because right now United is not working with any company on a design for a new business class seat.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 11052 times:

Quoting cubastar (Reply 11):
Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 8):
flew to LHR from ORD in BA J. I was stuck in a backward seat and found it very uncomfortable. I found myself having to stare into the cabin behind J eyeball to eyeball with those folks.

On this, I totally agree. In my opinion, eight (8) across in the BA's business cabin does not compare favorably with any other airline business cabin.
Quoting bavair (Thread starter):
In the case of BA, for example, I can fully understand as it enables more aisle access, although I'm not particularly fond of it

That's not the reason. BA's 8-abreast J seats on 744s and 777s wouldn't fit if they all faced forward. The foot area doesn't require as much horizontal space as the actual sitting area, so by alternating forward and backwards-facing seats, they can squeeze in 8-seats across and generate more revenue in the same floor space.


User currently offlinequestions From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 774 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 10700 times:

I like the new UA F suites. But why were they designed facing outward toward the aisle vs toward the windows like the previous version?

User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 408 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10673 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):
That's not the reason. BA's 8-abreast J seats on 744s and 777s wouldn't fit if they all faced forward. The foot area doesn't require as much horizontal space as the actual sitting area, so by alternating forward and backwards-facing seats, they can squeeze in 8-seats across and generate more revenue in the same floor space.

I understand that. I just don't like BA's business class on the 74 or 77 with the fwd/back type of seat. I know that is the reason that they can fit 8 seats across in business. I just don't like it....too crowded. And......their seats are just not as comfortable as others.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3572 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9883 times:

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 8):
I flew to LHR from ORD in BA J. I was stuck in a backward seat and found it very uncomfortable. I found myself having to stare into the cabin behind J eyeball to eyeball with those folks. I also felt I was sliding down.

How did you manage to stare through the solid bulkhead and the curtain ? There is zero visibility from the Club World cabin back to world traveller plus.


User currently offlinecosyr From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 389 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9792 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
they are offset with the rear/forward facing combination and meant to avoid people having to stare at each other.

This doesn't make any sense. If they are rear and forward facing, you are by definition staring at each other. I assume you are referring to the staggering forward vs rear across the aisle, but in some ways that makes you even closer to staring at someone else. Without the bend in the middle of the seats that BA has, I don't see how from a physics stand point the United seats can be as wide. I do think with the tall walls on BA, that they could seem claustrophobic. But I would rather be in a box than rubbing shoulders with 2 strangers. Better still, I would rather no airline ever made a J class with more than 6 seats across...on any plane (and I prefer 5 on 767).


User currently offlinevfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 3997 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9669 times:

Anyone able to point me at a picture of an UA cabin to allow me to better understand what we are talking about?

User currently offlineairtechy From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 500 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 4 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 6733 times:

The reconfigured business class seating in Delta's 747's are the best seat....and seat arrangement... I have ever flown. Lie flat, direct aisle access, and plenty of storage space. I never partake of the on-board entertainment so that is not important to me. And their placement may result in fewer seats, but for some reason the airline still seems to be making money.

If I was United, I would struggle to defend an eight abreast seating arrangement that had people staring at each other.


25 Roseflyer : The DL business seat is not the best for space efficiency. They only fit 14 on the upper deck of the 747 versus 20 for UA. While preferable, tat is a
26 malaysia : I have been on both the Business First on UA 772/744 and CO 772. the CO seats are nicer have little side wall and dont make you share arm rest with ot
27 Post contains links caribair : In the 767 or the 744 upstairs are fine. But this is a good distribuccion in Business for a 10 hour flight? United New Business Class On 777/No Room!
28 Post contains images toobz : Uhh yeah UA is far behind DL. DL may have taken a hit financially on their setup, but their product is far superior. Maybe that's why DL has seen grow
29 LAXintl : Last I heard the FAA said the design would not be certifiable due cabin safety issues. The IFE console blocks all your direct forward view In testing
30 malaysia : But the side views can be strong, the other group across aisle is facing other way and they have direct view of you until you are flat asleep
31 jayunited : I remember a lot of people on a.netters complaining when pmUA first started their cabin retrofit. Many of you were complaining because pmUA reduced t
32 MaverickM11 : Honeslty it's no big deal. I know we live in a society that is petriefied of a stranger saying hello in the elevator or god forbid somebody calling y
33 Post contains images LAXintl : Read what I said below... So maybe the configuration does not meet with your approval, however in extensive testing prior to roll out it was found th
34 tymnbalewne : Incorrect. If you're in the last row window seat in Club you can see right into WTP. The curtain is rarely closed.
35 airtechy : Nice spinning! United is unfortunately saddled with a business class configuration that was questionable when introduced and is now clearly not the w
36 blueflyer : I understand it is based on metrics. It's not the first time I hold an opinion that is contrary to the majority, but usually I can understand why. Th
37 Post contains images airtechy : A very interesting question. I can only assume that United hopes to fill the business section with flyers on corporate contracts. These people would
38 cubastar : You are right! And minus is exactly what it is.
39 Post contains images ADent :
40 jayunited : What other airlines flies the 777-200ER in a 3 class setting that also offers all business class passengers direct access to the isle. And don't say
41 Bongodog1964 : Rubbish. Firstly, the configuration is such that the window seat is tucked round the corner and you only have a view of the solid partition, the aisl
42 questions : How do BA FA's do meal service to passengers seated in window seats?
43 blueflyer : I think I understand the point you are trying to make, but as a customer and with all due respect, it is irrelevant in my opinion. It was United's ch
44 jfidler : When I fly business class, it's on flights 10+ hours where I need the ability to rest and get work done. To me, the two factors I look at at lie-flat
45 tymnbalewne : I have often sat in A/K...the rear bulkhead window seats are my preferred option on the 777 or on the maindeck of the 747, most recently 2 weeks ago.
46 Viscount724 : They access the passenger the same way the passenger gets to/from the seat. It's quite awkward if aisle seat passengers have their seats fully reclin
47 cubastar : During cocktail or meal services, usually both seats (fwd. and backward) are in their upright or slightly reclined positions and the flt attendants c
48 Viscount724 : I disagree. In my experience, expecially on overnight flights, many passengers prefer to eat in the lounge before boarding (BA offers full meal servi
49 tymnbalewne : Some will also lower the divider and pass the tray over the aisle passenger and hand it to the inside passenger.
50 questions : Thanks. Sounds like it could be less than ideal for the FAs.
51 cubastar : I am sure that is is less than ideal for the F/A. Again, the terms; uncomfortable, awkward, and annoying come to mind. Well, the question asked by th
52 Post contains images RyanairGuru : None. I'd never thought of it like that before, but while checking to see if there were any I'd missed I realised how non-standard all aisle access i
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