So the other day I got an interesting comment from a reader. He’s traveling to London with his son and trying to decide whether to book their flight on American’s new 777-300ER with Main Cabin Extra seats and enjoy the extra room, or instead book their flight on one of the 777-200s that offers more privacy.

American Airlines 777-300ER with Main Cabin Extra

American Airlines 777-300ER Main Cabin Extra mini cabin

Pros: Main Cabin Extra not only offers more legroom (nearly six inches), the seats are almost three inches wider. They’re a lot more comfortable and roomy than main cabin seating, and there’s a lot more room underneath the seat in front of you. All the Main Cabin Extra seats are in a separate, forward mini-cabin and it feels less dense.

Much better entertainment system.

Cons: The downside for those traveling as a couple is that it’s in a three by three by three configuration. So unless you get lucky with an empty seat, you’re guaranteed to have a stranger sitting next to you.

If you want to sit together, one of you will have to sit in a middle seat.

My Advice: If you’re traveling as a couple, try to get row 16 – it’s the exit/bulkhead row. There’s so much room that everyone on the row (even the person sitting by the window) essentially has access to the aisle.

American Airlines 777-200

American Airlines 777-200 Main Cabin

Pros: With the 2 X 5 X 2 configuration it’s easy to pick two seat that are together and you won’t have to share the row with anyone else. More privacy. And to access the aisle you only have to inconvenience an friend or family member.

Cons: Smaller seats. Less comfortable.

My Advice: The 777-300ER offers a few rows with 2 X 4 X 2 seating (rows 31, 32, 41, 42). Try to book seats on those rows, you’ll have a much better entertainment system, when the seat in front reclines it intrudes less on your space, and on most routes you’ll have Wi-fi.

777-300ER Rows 31 and 32

American Airlines 777-300ER Main Cabin Rows 31 and 32

777-300ER Rows 41 and 42

American Airlines 777-300ER Rows 41 and 42


(A big hat tip to David F. for an interesting question!)

Reader Giveaway

I’m giving away a free Gogo Inflight Wi-fi code (expires June 30th). To enter all you have to do is answer this question:

You and a family member are traveling together to London. Would you choose Main Cabin Extra with the extra room and a stranger on your row, or two seats together and privacy in the Main Cabin?

No right or wrong answer. Just leave a comment and on Monday I’ll pick a winner in a random drawing.

One entry per person. The deadline to enter is Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.


  • beachpig said,

    If it’s just two, I would take the 777-200 but try to get the 2x4x2 like you recommended.

  • Uri Hadelsberg said,

    Main Cabin Extra with the extra room and a stranger
    sorry Im a fan of the 772!

  • Andrew said,

    Trying to decide this for a much shorter flight. MKE to MSP with my wife on Delta. It’s 2×3 config. Currently have seats on the 2 side. Could get two seats together in the Plus size but it’s on the 3 side.

    If it were up to me I’d get the Main Cabin Extra going to London. But since my wife is the one who gets the middle seat I’d let her make the final decision.

  • Scott C said,

    Main Cabin Extra

  • Up&Away said,

    I’ll take the first option…and hopefully some GoGo passes to use while there!

  • Kurt said,

    Take the 777-300er and grab the window + aisle seat. If it’s not a full flight, chances are nobody will purposefully pick the middle seat when they chose their seats. If you get unlucky and it’s a full flight (and you end up with someone sitting between you), just ask the person to swap with you…I promise they will :-)

  • ket said,

    If just myself and my spouse, I definitely prefer the 2 4 2 configuration.
    No hopping over a stranger, just u and your honey, no need to worry.

  • dave said,

    two seats together always.

  • Adam said,

    I think I’d take the leg room, but the row of 2 is enticing.

  • Anthony C said,

    I would pick Main Cabin Extra on the 777-300

  • HIS said,

    If both passengers are under 5-11 tall, would pick 2 seats and 777-200. Otherwise, would pick the 777-300ER.

  • Johnny B said,

    I would pick Main Cabin Extra on the 777-300 for the extra leg room.

  • Joel A. said,

    The row with 2 only.

  • Neer shah said,

    Main cabin extra! Too tall for anything else

  • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena said,

    Main Cabin Extra with the extra room and a stranger on your row :)

  • Naser said,

    I am short and I don’t have problem with small leg area. I will go for “two seats together and more privacy”.

  • Patrick said,

    I’d go with the 300, A just to try something new but B for the extra legroom and seat space. My strategy- book a window and book an aisle. Maybe you get lucky and the middle seat isn’t taken, if someone does have middle- offer to switch so you two end up together anyway. πŸ˜‰

  • GetToThePoints said,

    The privacy option

  • Aaron said,

    For sure the exit row. There’s a good chance you’ll have no one sitting next to you.

  • Rich said,

    2seats together

  • Vikram said,

    Main cabin extra – better to have more legroom (even with a stranger)

  • eric medstudent said,

    honestly, I would go with more legroom . but hey id just take any seat if i was desperate.

  • Sam said,

    I’m with Kurt, I’d take the window and aisle seats of a row in Main Cabin Extra. Best case, the two of you have the whole row to yourself. Worst case, one of you trades with the person in the middle seat. There are worse things than sharing a row with someone whose day you just made.

  • lina said,

    The extra space on main cabin extra

  • hiSathish said,

    Since its just Dad and Son my pick would be 777-300ER

    1. if the ticket price is same as 777-200

    2. If traveller(s) are very tall (in this case convenience is preffred over privacy for flight travel)

    3. I would also suggest row 16 and you can work the seating later.

  • HIS said,

    The last time I did the isle and window seat ‘thing’ was with my wife going to Madrid. The guy in the middle seat said he was “fine”, did not want to move. The row ahead of us had an empty isle and middle seat, and I ended up moving to the isle, while my wife stayed behind me in her isle seat with stranger in the middle seat and an empty window seat the entire trip. Since then, I have not risked it and still prefer 2 seats alone.

  • Scott said,

    two seats together and privacy in the Main Cabi

  • Schrott said,

    Main cabin extra; I’m a gambler. Ergo, I’ll bet the middle seat stays vacant

  • Kyle said,

    I would take the Main Cabin Extra. I think these seats are much better than Exit Rows for the space available.

  • Kevin W. said,

    I would pick Main Cabin Extra on the 777-300.

  • smitty06 said,

    Main Cabin Extra for sure. Who cares about the stranger.

  • Nick B. said,

    Main Cabin Extra. The extra legroom really matters to me

  • Anita said,

    I would pick extra leg room sorry hubs!

  • catmndu said,

    main cabin extra. I’m 6’3″ tall so the leg room would make less grumpy, thus a better traveling companion.

  • Silvia P said,

    Main cabin extra.

  • Seth Miller said,

    Where are you getting that the MCE seats are 3″ wider than the regular seats on the 772? They’re both 18″ from what I can see. With the same 9 seats across and aisle width having 27″ of extra seat width in the row would be rather significant.

  • Chris said,

    Extra room is always a plus, I can deal with a stranger. 6’4″ need the legroom

  • Terry said,

    Two seats together in the main cabin

  • Emman said,

    Main Cabin Extra!

  • Shashi said,

    2 seats together for the cozyness always better.

  • Carl said,

    I’d go with main cabin extra just because I want to try out the new plane.

  • David F. said,

    Since I was the one that posted the question earlier this week – this was a pleasant surprise!

    Bear in mind I am travelling with my Son – who is 12 . While he is the Seasoned Vet of 5 transatlantic Trips and 2 DFW-HNL – come on be honest what is your first thought when you see a child on your row, I know what mine is! Parent or not! (Lets Face it – we know our children our well behaved – it’s the other parents)

    If it was my spouse – It would be a no brainer to go with MCE – and I would do 2 together rather than roll the dice on a center being open – the DFW – LHR is a popular route – can be three flights a day over the summer (4 if you count the BA flight).

    But this is a big deal – its been many years of convincing Mrs David F. to allow us to do this. This may sound silly but for us , this is the equivalent of a Father taking his Son hunting/fishing or to the ball game for the first time

    Of course the ideal solution would be Biz class, but thats 8K for 2, or find someone with 4 SWU going spare!

    Still trying to decide – thanks for the input all!

  • Abhinav G. said,

    Go with Main Cabin Extra, the stranger may not even show up πŸ˜‰

  • Jonathan said,

    I would pick the seats in MCE!

  • Michael H.(oldfox) said,

    Got to be …. Main Cabin Extra since I am 6’4″

  • Alex said,

    I would pick Main Cabin Extra on the Boeing 777-300ER.

  • Pat said,

    I’d opt for legroom over anything else.

  • bob C. said,

    i wold got with the 777/300 but do aisle / aisle if only two of us

  • Denise L said,

    Main Cabin Extra

  • Jho said,

    Main cabin extra :)

  • Juno said,

    I’d definitely take the Main Cabin Extra for the increased room.

  • Kathy said,

    The row with 2 only.

  • Jim said,

    Two seats and privacy!

  • Joseph M said,

    Ditto for Main Cabin Extra….

  • Carlo said,

    It’s definitely gonna be two seats together and privacy in the main cabin.

  • heels05 said,

    2 seats alone. Leg room would be better but not worth a chance at a bad seatmate

  • Jerry L said,

    Main Cabin Extra

  • Chris said,

    2 starts together with privacy. After all, the extra room in my opinion is meant for more privacy, and the extra person there kind of defeats the purpose.

  • Archon1995 said,

    Main Cabin Extra. Privacy on a flight is almost an oxymoron, unless you’re flying up front in a suite. The extra room means more comfort for the long flight, and you can always choose the window & middle seats so the stranger doesn’t have to inconvenience you when they have to move around.

  • Abhi said,

    I will go for the main cabin extra for sure.

  • Noah Kimmel said,

    gotta go for the legroom. its too long of a flight to not have it.

  • dee j said,

    Main cabin extra, and maybe a new friend!

  • Jimmy G said,

    Two seats together.

  • Lynn said,

    Main cabin extra given the flight duration.

  • Johnny said,

    Main cabin extra …. as I typically wear ear buds during the flight and wouldn’t talk w/ my travel companion during much of the flight

  • Linda T said,

    Main cabin extra. I am trying out that route in September in Business using a SWU. Not sure if it is worth it for the short flight, but wanted to try it!

  • Zahn said,

    I would take the two seats and privacy in the main cabin.

  • Jamie said,

    I would opt for the privacy, I’d rather give up a little leg room to insure having my own real estate.

  • Jon said,

    The privacy

  • Marty dee said,

    Privacy in main cabin

  • BrazilianTravel said,

    I’ll chose the main cabin extra by far!!

  • Van Buren Boys Hockey said,

    MCE on the new jet.

  • Sebastian said,

    2 seats together !

  • Kim Cousens said,

    Two seats together and privacy in the main cabin.

  • Robert said,

    I have to stick with the 772- exit rows on row 31. Works with all the leg room. Never been a fan of a 3x3x3 type configuration. Yes, when you are a couple- sitting together without a stranger is important.

  • Lisa said,

    I’d pick MCE and hope the middle stays empty.
    If a stranger ends up there, either switch, or make a new friend :)

  • Lisa said,

    MCE aisle and window. You’re not a cuddly couple. Your son would be OK in the middle if you end up trading.

    There’s no such thing as privacy on an airplane, but space is wonderful.

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