Boeing has received a mixed reaction from 787 customers to the unique eight-abreast premium economy cabin layout that has double-seats in the centre cabin.

Speaking at last week's Business Travel Show, Boeing regional director, passenger satisfaction and revenue, Kent Craver says the configuration, which Boeing has patented, was conceived after research into passenger satisfaction.

"We're pushing this layout to airlines that want an eight-abreast premium cabin as it is more efficient at making people more comfortable," he says.

The traditional eight-abreast layout Boeing offers is two-four-two, but Kent says passenger research shows there is more benefit gained from adopting triple seats.

"In economy, if you get an empty seat next to you, it feels like you've won the lottery. With a triple, for every empty seat two passengers benefit, whereas with doubles and quads it only makes one passenger more comfortable."

Craver says the configuration has met a "mixed reaction" from customers.

"Not everyone is looking at it. The typical knock-back is that with this layout, there is a better chance that travelling couples will get split up, but that is only a possibility if you're more than 90% full."

The configuration has been patented by Boeing, which gives it "a few more years" exclusivity, says Craver, who cannot confirm whether any 787 customer has formally specified the concept for its aircraft. But he says few customers have reached that detail stage yet in their specification effort.

Source: Flight International