Dating back to the beginning of Airbus’ product line, the company has always championed the comfort of passengers travelling in all classes of service aboard its aircraft.
With more than 10 billion people having flown on the worldwide Airbus aircraft fleet since the A300’s introduction in the 1970s, the company remains committed to one of the most important – and often overlooked – factors for passenger comfort: seat width.
This is the focus of Airbus’ new “It’s the seat” marketing campaign, which highlights today’s standard for cabin comfort on long-haul travel – 18-inch seat width in economy class, which is available throughout the company’s entire product line of modern, efficient jetliners.
By offering an extra inch of width compared to the 1960s-era 17-inch standard – when people were smaller and long-haul flights were rarely more than five hours – Airbus is focused on meeting the modern requirements of travellers, as long-range flights are more frequent and cover greater distances.
“One inch makes a huge difference for passengers in economy, particularly on modern long-haul flights that can be over 18 hours,” said Kevin Keniston, an Airbus Long Term Concepts Manager specialising in cabin operations. “The logic for the 17-inch seat is outdated. With nearly 200,000 more flights over 4000nm scheduled this year than 10 years ago, it is important that Airbus continues to provide products that maximise passenger comfort today and well into the future.”
Keniston noted that while passengers may not pay much attention to seat width, it is one of the most important factors for overall comfort in flight. This extra space allows passengers increased movement in the lateral direction, as well as additional room to avoid physical contact with neighbours.
To ensure future comfort on its widebody aircraft – the A330 Family, A380 and new A350 XWB – Keniston said Airbus is following the trend to accommodate people who are generally taller and wider than some 50 years ago, which also is seen in many industries, including sports arenas, theatres, cinemas, automobiles, trains, and more.
Airbus’ complete modern product line offers at least a standard 18-inch seat width in economy class, from its widebody A350 XWB and A330 Families to the 21-century flagship A380 and its single-aisle A320 Family.
“For an aircraft like our new A350 XWB, this jetliner could be operating 100 years after the original 17-inch standard was set,” he added. “By designing it for wider seats, Airbus is prepared to meet the requirements of passengers who are more and more sensitive to well-being onboard.”