Airbus calls for minimum seat width
Airbus has called on the aviation industry to set a minimum 18-inch seat width.
The manufacturer today revealed research into the impact that seat width makes on passenger comfort during long-haul economy flights.
And it has now called on airlines to enforce a minimum width of 18 inches (45.72 cms).
The study, by The London Sleep Centre, used polysomnography to record every standard physiological sleep measurement – including monitoring brainwaves, eye, abdominal, chest and hip leg movement – on a selection of passengers.
Researchers found that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53 per cent when compared to the 17-inch standard, which was first introduced in the 1950s.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, of The London Sleep Centre, said: "The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night's sleep in the 18-inch seat.
"They went from one sleep stage to the next as you would expect them to do under normal circumstances.
"While in the narrower 17-inch seat the passengers were affected by numerous disturbances during sleep - which meant they rarely experienced deep restorative sleep.
"When it comes to flying long haul in economy, an inch makes a huge difference on passenger comfort."
Airbus has long provided a standard 18-inch minimum seat width in its long-haul economy cabins. However, not all manufacturers have done so.
Kevin Keniston, Airbus' head of passenger comfort, said: "If the aviation industry doesn't take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond – especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service.
"Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards."
Air transport has changed significantly over the last 50 years. In the last five years alone, the number of flights over 13 hours has increased by 70 per cent from 24 to 41 daily. And in the next 15 years passenger traffic will double.
Not to mention man as a species is getting bigger so therefore needs larger seats.
sparkyflyer - 28/10/2013 11:31
This is a very interesting piece and I was glad it was posted here. I suspect airlines who have 10 across on the 777s and 9 across on their 787s will not welcome this so much however.
sjldtlon1 - 28/10/2013 12:10
"Airbus has long provided a standard 18-inch minimum seat width in its long-haul economy cabins. However, not all manufacturers have done so."
Most A330 operators have a 17.5" economy class seat width, and several A340 operators have 17.5" seat width so I find this a strange comment - anyone any thoughts?
Skyobserver - 29/10/2013 12:56
Well I expect Tim Clark at Emirates will be less than pleased at this report given his comments about having 11 seats across on AB 380's ... Just because he had a couple of Tri-stars from TWA in the early 80's at Gulf Air with 2.-5-2 config in economy does not mean its comfortable !!
lhrb777 - 31/10/2013 13:37
Although this is clearly an attempt by Airbus to stick one on Boeing, on behalf of all long haul economy passengers, I think it is to be applauded. The race to the bottom is truly a horrible trend and if they can shame airlines into providing a minimum of 18", I for one will be grateful in case I ever have to fly economy again, which thankfully I have not for the last 15 years. The thought fills me with dread.....
Dolphin500 - 31/10/2013 18:18
I have been a big follower of Boeing, but I have to applaud this study made by the London Sleep Centre and Airbus, because finally someone has to advocate against the atrocities of what airlines are doing with passengers in Economy, increasing space for Business Class, reducing the economy space but populating the economy sections without caring that is people who are travelling there. Hopefully those airlines who are doing 10 across 777 and 11 in the A380’s will change their minds, because is not fair, but it seems that airlines are sending a message that economy passengers do not deserve comfort because they don’t provide enough revenue.
oasis1221 - 01/11/2013 00:11
I strongly believe that the legroom is even more important than the seat width.
Can anybody imagine how some airlines got away with 30-31 inch seat pitch on intercontinental flights?
With no legroom to stretch, the kincking of the vein behind the knee joint will not only cause leg swelling but may precipitate some degree of calf muscle deep vein thrombosis.
There were published fatalities let alone the sub clinical clot formation that go on undetected . Luckely the human body has good capability of dissolving most of the clots spontaneously.
the747guy - 08/11/2013 12:13
I bet the majority of those Airlines CEOs have never sat on a plane with narrow seats and 30-31" seat pitch, for more than 2 seconds! Much less in a long haul flight.
So, if they don't care about us travelers, why should we care about their companies going under due to the bad service they provide? They earn it!
Remember, we travelers always have many airline options, let's just start forgetting about their frequent traveler programs and sticking to bad and poor service provided on board (and many other times on the ground too) and fly the airline that offers us the best combination of price and plane comfort.
I think it is a good initiative of AB to set a minimum standard on seat widths and refuse to fit their new delivery planes with seats smaller than 18". One good mark for Airbus (and I am a BOEING unconditional fan).
What do you think?
ADD A COMMENT »