Just as sure as your dad would tell you he used to walk three miles in the snow every morning to school when you asked your mom to pull out the station wagon to drive you three blocks, every time talk about the 757 doing trans-Atlantic runs comes up, if someone complains how uncomfortable they are, it's brought up that we used to fly those routes (with multiple stops, even!) on the 707 or DC-8 without any problems.
My question is, for those of you who remember, weren't the 707 and DC-8 better equipped seat-wise in coach for those trips?
On my first 707 flight, I was too young to even think about something as esoteric as how far apart the seats were, and it made little difference to me then. As I grew older, I recall flying non-stop between coasts on TWA 707s, and the seat and pitch were quite comfortable (who knows, maybe I'm just jaded now). Flying later on the UA Super DC-8, it still stands out in my mind that the legroom was quite non-standard to what we were growing used to, and the chair was a more substantial affair. All things considered, I'd still rather fly a Super DC-8 long haul if I was flying coach, just based on past impressions of all types.
My understanding is that the current 757s flying across the ocean are fitted with the same seats you'd find on a domestic trip, with 31" or thereabouts of seat pitch, not exactly the most comfortable for everyone.
Is my memory just faulty about the narrow-bodied long haul jets of the past, or is there no difference? Would the 757 be more accepted if the seats were just a bit more comfy? Perhaps we should be qualifying our saying the 707 and DC-8 were just fine, because they were that much better seat-wise.