Air India to repair broken seats onboard the 777s

Broken seats, frozen IFE, stained seats and so-on are not unheard of on Air India’s 777s which primarily fly to the USA. Air India has a fleet of 13 777-300ER and 3 777-200LR for commercial service. One of the 13 777-300ER, VT-ALX is a relatively new 777-300ER, delivered in March 2018. Rest all the 777s are between 9 to 11 years old.

Air India Business Class

Air India business class onboard VT-ALX, only 777-300ER with new seats

Barring VT-ALX, there are issues with the hard product on Air India 777s on the account of poor maintenance and age. According to Hindustan Times,

Air India incurred an estimated revenue loss of ₹3 crore over the past three months owing to around 1,500 damaged and unusable seats on its international flights that were left vacant. Data provided by the airline said most of these seats were on Boeing 777 aircraft, operating between India and the United States and were left vacant between February and April.

That’s around 17 seats per day. This data only accounts for unusable seats being left vacant. It, however, doesn’t address the main issue, the entire hard product itself which is outdated.

Air India sea

Air India business class seats on all 777s except VT-ALX

It was earlier reported that the Air India was asked earlier to determine the cost of refurbishing the aircraft or just replacing/repairing the broken seats and take up whichever costed less. Well obviously, refurbishing an aircraft is costly especially a 777, so it was natural that the second option would be given a go-ahead.

The Government doesn’t want to pump in more money as it is considering selling Air India completely. While the disinvestment failed earlier, we don’t know what will happen after the elections. As a stop-gap arrangement, Air India has issued a tender to repair/rejuvenate plastic parts of the broken seats on the 15 777s.

Air India seat

Air India 777

You can read the entire tender here. Air India hasn’t specifically mentioned the number of seats under consideration of repair but looks like all the seats will require some sort of repair. They have given a completion time frame of 15 days. Air India wants the contractor to provide defect-free warranty of a minimum of 12 months for the seats and a guarantee of providing repair service at cost for another 24 months.

Air India seat

Air India tender for repair of seats on 777s except for VT-ALX

The repairs won’t work in the long run. Another major issue on the 777s is broken IFE screens. The IFE systems are over a decade old, and are in need of replacement. Air India has issued a tender not for repair of IFE screens but to install streamable IFE on all its aircraft for free. The streamable IFE will complement the current seatback IFE screens on Air India aircraft. Till then, you should see this.

What is the condition of the Air India widebodies you’ve recently witnessed in your travels?



  1. More than the seats IFE equipments in economy need an overhaul for sure. Most of them are either completely broken or terribly slow that one mouse click / finger touch takes up to 10 seconds to respond. May be this is because the memory / storage is full or the processor needs a restart or something. This is the only reason I am avoiding Air india for my travels from Chicago back to Kerala every year

  2. Flew to Shanghai on the 787. Terribly uncomfortable seats, the one on the return leg would not recline at all. Hence travelled on an overprized economy seat

  3. Well recently I traveled to SFO and back and on both occasions, the flight was ahead of schedule.

    The service and crew were top notch.

    The seat itself in Y class was standard and in decent condition. It wasn’t dirty or broken or anything of that sort.

    IFE perhaps could do with an upgrade no doubt. But to be honest, on such long flights one would be spending time sleeping.

    To be fair, anything that involves Air India is usually negatively amplified.

    Having said that I think their product is due an upgrade as those seats especially in J class and F class were first released in 2007 or so.

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