The battle for an extra inch of space on long-distance flights

November 4, 2013

The battle for comfort in commercial air travel, it turns out, is a game of inches. A fight for an extra inch of seat width in long-distance flights is brewing between the world’s two top planemakers, Reuters’ Tim Hepher writes.

The dispute focuses on the width of seats provided on long-haul flights for economy passengers – not always the ones most courted by airlines, but whose allocated space holds the key to efficiency claims for the latest jets offered by Airbus and Boeing.

Airbus (EAD.PA) this week called for an industry standard that would provide for a seat at least 18 inches wide in economy cabins, but its U.S. arch-rival Boeing (BA.N) says it should be for airlines to decide.


Here’s more from Reuters:

The dispute comes as planemakers vie to sell ever-larger versions of their twin-engined long-distance aircraft, with potentially record orders expected at the November 17-21 event.

How the back of the plane is laid out – particularly whether seating is 9 or 10 abreast – is central to the economic performance claims being made for new ‘mini-jumbo’ jet designs.

Airbus, for its part, says that it has research that supports the idea that an extra inch of seat width improves sleep on long flights.  If you’re planning a flight, SeatGuru has a great sortable table on the airlines with the most (and least) legroom.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see