Hmm, even as someone that's larger (but does fit in the seat with the armrests down), I don't think I particularly like this "solution". Let's face it, now everyone's going to want those aisle seats, and you've suddenly made the problem a lot worse when a larger person gets assigned a middle seat. And even for people that aren't larger, to take a seat that was probably only about 17" wide and now make it 16"? Brutal.
I have to wonder how many non-fat people would take the larger seat, I know I would if it was an option. Seems like it would become a discount economy plus in some ways. I really don't understand why the airlines can't adopt a standardized policy (at least for domestic airlines) as to people who don't fit in one seat being required to buy 2. No more seatbelt extenders, no spilling over, if the armrest can't be raised or lowered without interference then you buy a second seat as courtesy to your fellow passengers.
Don't airlines decide on the seat design, size, features etc - not the aircraft manufacturer?
OK, they may have a standard option but how many airlines take it up?
Not many, I think; there are a few big airline seat manufacturers -- I'm not sure if Boeing even makes their own, and while Airbus does, they have a separate division to do it.
For one example, AA uses a mix of Weber and Recaro.
Personally, I don't see a wider aisle seat on regular rows succeeding -- among other things, if my seat is made wider at the expense of the one next to it, it only helps at butt level... the guy next to me will have his shoulders in more of "my" space.
I DO see premium economy cabins with slightly wider seats becoming more common.
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While obviously there are people who don't fit in any sort of normal chair, in or outside of an airplane, I think it's worth pointing out, that airline seats are built on the average waist measurement of a man in the 1950s. The important point here is WAIST. The largest natural part of a person is their shoulders. I'll add to this that people's average shoulder size has probably also increased as we've generally gotten bigger as a population since then, obesity aside. Airlines went with these measurements because couples traveled together and obviously women had smaller shoulders so shoulder room wasn't an issue, nor was obesity. Also airlines have since crunched another seat into the plane rows to increase their bottom lines(no pun intended).
I'm 6'1, with a slender, athletic build. My shoulders aren't broad like Fabio or anything, I actually have a small upper body, but not small shoulders. I can barely survive 5 hours in a normal seat even on the aisle, because the chairbacks try to hunch one's shoulders in, which is bad for your neck, back and posture. That's to say nothing of the ridiculousness that is air travel when two men sit next to each other in coach. There is no way for them to sit straight up and be comfortable for lack of shoulder space.
Fair enough if people want to pay for bigger seats, be they for fatness or their own comfort/shoulders. I'm a believer in personal responsibility, so fine, I'd pay more for a "bigger" seat to accomodate my shoulders but the part that gets my goat is that the chairs are too damn small, even for an average person to begin with.
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I would really love to see the whole seat width/spacing taken up as a human rights issue. Damn, your dog would not be permitted to travel in the conditions every airline is forcing onto Y passengers. In a work environment you would not be permitted to be work under such conditions, but suddenly when you get on a plane for a 14 hour flight it is somehow magically OK? And if your job involves a fair amount of travel then the plane is at least your part-time work space.
My company is Y only so no point is discussion business/first as that isn't an option.
Back on task, I can't see this seat being a good idea, especially as it is squeezing the other 2 passengers out of 1", which is sorely needed already. Dumb idea. Just fix the issue. I am not overlarge and as other have said, it's my shoulders that don't fit in the seat, period, they just don't fit.
I sit in a wheelchair with and 18 inch wide seat with no problem. I do it all day long. Sitting in a 17 inch airline seat is awful, though. I'm glad to see Airbus doing this. Hope Boeing does it too, and airlines buy them and install them.