Is there a plane with a 3-5-3 seat configuration?
April 14, 2015 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Does any airline currently or previously have a seat configuration with 3 seats on each side and 5 seats in the middle? I could have sworn I was on such a plane a few years ago, but all my searching has only yielded images of 3-4-3 layouts and the proposed 3-5-3 layout for the A380.
posted by spreadsheetzu to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there a chance you're misremembering a 777 with a 2-5-2 layout?
posted by phunniemee at 10:31 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

SeatGuru says no.
posted by unliteral at 10:33 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

i feel reasonably certain I flew on double-deck Boeing 747s with this configuration back in the '90s, most likely United, most likely Chicago to San Francisco or LAX, or SFO/LAX to Sydney, Australia.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:43 PM on April 14, 2015

I've never seen one. The "widest" long-haul layout seems to be the 3-4-3 (10 wide) layout in the Boeing 777, which is used in Economy class by Emirates and several other carriers.

Sometimes they have wacky bulkhead-row configurations which might have caused you to think it was 3-5-3.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:44 PM on April 14, 2015

(I may incorrectly be remembering a 2-5-2 seating situation, but there were definitely 5 seats together on assorted United flights in the late 80s through the 90s.)
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:52 PM on April 14, 2015

I was on one recently

air jordanian, melbourne, kuala lumpur,

it may have been 2-5-2, but i was definitley in the centre between two other seats and it sucked
posted by frequently at 11:30 PM on April 14, 2015

I believe that 3-5-3 eleven abreast was used by some of the 747-100s and 200s that ran in ultra-dense, short-range Japanese domestic service.

It is something could come back as 747-400s rotate out to discount and charter fleets, especially given the extension of their useful lives provided by the huge decline in fuel prices in the past year. 11 abreast 747s are only slightly tighter than the 10 abreast seating that the carriers are deploying for the 777-300s (and which are the subject of truly bitter complaint on Seat Guru and elsewhere; that fuselage was conceived as a 9 abreast economy product).
posted by MattD at 11:42 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was the middle seat in a x-5-x from Sao Paolo to Atlanta in the first week of January 1999. It was a Delta or codeshare, but I don't remember the actual plane.
posted by rhizome at 12:10 AM on April 15, 2015

I have absolutely flown in a 3-4 or 5-3 before on Air Canada/Canadian in the 90's from Toronto to Edmonton. No idea what plane model it was though.

This was back when legacy carriers ran flights far less then capacity. My sister and I had seats in the row of 3 with an empty beside us and we were each able to go across the aisle and lay across our own middle sections and nap. My sis and I are super tall and I don't think 4 across would be long enough for either of us to lay down on. That is what is making be believe it was a 3-5-3.
posted by saradarlin at 1:14 AM on April 15, 2015

If you can be flexible with "a few years" then sure. I believe I flew to England on a British Airways 747 that was 3-5-3 back in 1986. A Google image search for the words 747 seat layout brings up a bunch of diagrams conforming that this was used.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:55 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am 99% certain that I flew an Alitalia flight in January of 2001 from JFK to Milan that was in a 3-5-3 configuration, although I can't for the life of me remember what aircraft it was.
posted by saladin at 6:05 AM on April 15, 2015

The Boeing B 747-400 "LC International" has the 3-5-3 configuration. I don't know if it is still in use, but I took an Air France flight from Paris to Boston on something similar in 2000 or 2001.
posted by TheCavorter at 6:33 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fairly certain I flew a 3-5-3 via British Airways a few years ago (no longer ago than 2011). It possibly was a United plane, from Heathrow to the States.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:06 AM on April 15, 2015

I've definitely flown across the Atlantic in this configuration, on Freddie Laker's Skytrain in 1978. According to the article, that would've been on DC-10s.
posted by Rash at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2015

There have been a bunch of airlines that flew 3-4-3 configurations on 747s. The only 3-5-3 I have ever heard of are some short haul JAL domestic flights and trans-international in the 70s. I'm extremely skeptical that any transatlantic flight ever was a 3-5-3 configuration. The only aircraft ever certified for a 3-5-3 configuration are the 747 and the 380. A DC-10 is only 18'2" wide (2 feet narrower than the 747) -- that couldn't possibly accommodate 11 seats across.

The AirFrance 747 linked above is 3-4-3. I'm nearly 100% sure that no BA flight has ever been 3-5-3.
posted by Lame_username at 10:52 AM on April 15, 2015

Look how cramped the A380 3-5-3 looks. It'd be even worse on a 747, which is has a cabin 40cm narrower.
posted by zsazsa at 10:38 PM on April 15, 2015

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