Squeezing an extra seat into economy?

Some cheeky airlines have started improving business class quality and getting rid of economy quality at the same time.

Here is a gallery of Economy Class, and how airline economy class is getting worse by the minute.

cathay new economy

So what’s here? This is Cathay Pacific’s new Boeing 777-300ER economy class, which has economy seats 18.5 in wide (and a seat pitch of 32 in).

emirates economy

How it compares when it comes to Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER. As a luxury airline, these offer really good meals and service. However it really gets a little below-par when it comes to the width. Emirates offers the “high-density” layout that Boeing suggests, the 3-4-3 LCC-normed layout. If you’re sitting next to a person over 17in wide, don’t show him anything, but just feel sorry for yourself.

The Boeing 777, with such its big seats, has been a target of flexibility, with Boeing suggesting 4-6 abreast in First (what were they thinking?), 6-8 abreast in Business (guess they’ve never taken an airline’s first class service before), 8-9 in Premium Economy (better) and 9-10 in Economy. They point at the 10 abreast and say, “that’s high density”.

So is this jumbo jet the only target for squishing an extra seat into the den? Not really.

Thomas Cook Airlines and AirAsia X have come with a solution with an A330 too. Here’s Cathay’s (new) version of the A330:

cathay new a330

(We know it’s an A330 because of the two screens on the bulkhead of the left patch of seats.)

These seats are an ample 18.1in wide, which is more than acceptable for Economy. That’s why AK (and MT and Mexicana etc.) do this:

airasia x

16.7 in wide, these are really below par, even for cattle class.

Boeing 787s are also additionally refitting 3-3-3 layouts as opposed to Japan Airlines’ lone 2-4-2 layout in the aviation industry. (ANA went for 3-3-3 very recently because of a 2-3-2 premium economy cabin.)

Airbus A380-800/900 is also suggesting a 3-5-3 layout in Economy (or a 4-3-4 layout in that matter) with 17in wide seats – at 16.8″ width per seat. We’re suggesting low cost carriers (Ryanair) do that, but for legacy carriers like Emirates? Keep the 3-4-3 layout.

Let’s see when they start squeezing in 4-3 in A320s and 737s…


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