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Plane Giants Clash Over Seat Width

November 4, 2013

business travelerBoeing and Airbus, by some distance the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers, have clashed over the issue of seat width in economy-class cabins

The latest salvo has been fired by Airbus, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, ahead of this month’s Dubai Airshow, when the pair’s newest long-distance models will go head-to-head.

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The European firm – which last week called for a minimum seat width of 18 inches to become the industry standard – has run an advertisement showing three diners squashed together in a restaurant with the caption “You’d never accept this”. Alongside it is a picture of the same three people sitting side-by-side in an aircraft, with the caption “So why would you accept this?”

At the Dubai show, which takes place from November 17-21, Airbus will be looking to convince airlines to order its 350-capacity A350, which features a nine-abreast seating configuration, each of which is 18 inches wide.

US rival Boeing will be selling its 777X, which holds 406 people using a 10-abreast configuration and seats measuring 17 inches in width.

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Telegraph Travel examined the issue of shrinking seats for its Travel Truths column last week.

“Discounting short-haul flights, seat widths had largely been on the up. But that is a trend that seems increasingly to be in reverse,” we wrote. “Ninety per cent of airlines have opted to include nine seats across their newly acquired Boeing Dreamliners, for example, rather than a more comfortable eight. And for Boeing 777s, one of the plane manufacturer’s biggest selling models, the trend is very much to pack ‘em in, and pack ‘em tight. For some time, the normal seating arrangement was nine seats per row. In 2010, just 15 per cent of the 74 Boeing aircraft delivered to airlines could seat 10 abreast. Last year, that leapt to 69 per cent.” Click here to read the rest of the article.

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