United Airlines will finally wheel its aging Boeing 747 jumbos off Sydney-US routes from April 1st, replacing them with more modern albeit smaller Boeing 777-200s.
The upgrade will be welcomed by travellers winging their way between Sydney, San Francisco and Los Angeles, especially in economy, as the 777s sport in-seat video screens – something the Boeing 747 noticeably lacked.
All seats also have access to AC power sockets, and the flights will at some stage include inflight Internet.
United runs five versions of the Boeing 777 across its fleet.
The one that we'll be seeing has eight suites in the carrier's Global First international first class, 40 seats in BusinessFirst business class and 221 in economy, including 117 of the extra legroom economy plus seats.
However, that tally of 269 seats is almost one hundred short of the 747's capacity and includes a substantial reduction in seats at the point end of the plane.
The current Boeing 747 offers 12 first class suites compared to the 777's eight suites, while business class goes down from 52 seats to 40 seats.
With United still enjoying a monopoly on direct Sydney/San Francisco flights, the cutback in premium seats could make things tougher for business travellers trying to match their schedule to United's seating availability.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.