The limits of density

Old Nov 20, 15, 2:50 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Germany
Programs: LH FTL, BA Bronze
Posts: 777
The limits of density

Having returned from my first trip on a BA 787 I am wondering where the limits are to density in economy class seating. Not only are 16-inch seats with no shoulder room painfully uncomfortable but the aisles are so narrow that an emergency evacuation would be seriously impeded. This thread is not intended as a rant but as a serious discussion of where we are heading in terms of economy class density and where the limits are, either imposed by regulators or by customers who are no longer prepared to suffer discomfort and risk worse, such as thrombosis. Who will stop 777s from going 11-across? Or 320s from going seven-across? Is it bound to happen?
planestupid is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 2:55 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ipswich
Posts: 7,541
Good question. I wonder if in years to come we will see legal conditions for seat pitch and width. There are quite strict regulations about transporting animals - why not humans?

The 787 seating is a step too far for me. I will actively avoid it in the future.
windowontheAside is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:01 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: MAN and LON
Programs: Mucci, BAEC LT Gold, HH Dia, MR LT Plat, IC RA, Kimpton Inner Circle, Amex Plat
Posts: 13,721
Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
Good question. I wonder if in years to come we will see legal conditions for seat pitch and width. There are quite strict regulations about transporting animals - why not humans?

The 787 seating is a step too far for me. I will actively avoid it in the future.
I don't fly long haul Y but is this a 787 problem or a BA problem? Other airlines don't seem to get the same reaction to Y in their 787s.
Land-of-Miles is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:17 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Split between MAN & AKL
Programs: BAEC GGL/CCR, SkyMiles Gold, Mucci deux fois
Posts: 619
I've not done Y since 2009, but any airline which fits 9 across in their 787s should be avoided IMO.

16.7" seats are the size Britannia used to fit to their high density charter 767s when they were 8 across; wedged at the hips, squeezed at the elbows with no space at meal times and squished at shoulder height.

Anecdotal first hand reports indicate it is most unpleasant, exacerbated by the IFE box; you've literally nowhere to go.

Really, it's horrid and I'm disappointed BA, with its perceived quality model, went down this route.

Amazing to think Britannia, as was, responded to market feedback and reverted back to 7 across in their 767s, yet years on, "quality" scheduled carriers are going back down the same route with the 787.

Last edited by PrimaVista; Nov 20, 15 at 4:40 am
PrimaVista is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:31 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: UK. BAEC AAdvantage
Programs: Mucci Des Oeufs Brouilles et des Canards
Posts: 3,457
Originally Posted by planestupid View Post
Having returned from my first trip on a BA 787 I am wondering where the limits are to density in economy class seating. Not only are 16-inch seats with no shoulder room painfully uncomfortable but the aisles are so narrow that an emergency evacuation would be seriously impeded. This thread is not intended as a rant but as a serious discussion of where we are heading in terms of economy class density and where the limits are, either imposed by regulators or by customers who are no longer prepared to suffer discomfort and risk worse, such as thrombosis. Who will stop 777s from going 11-across? Or 320s from going seven-across? Is it bound to happen?
Where did you get 16" from? SeatGuru says it's 17.5".
The limit will be the maximum number of people that can be evacuated from a plane in set time I believe. (See this
for the 90 second test of an A380 with 873 passengers - all Y class I gather!)

Passenger comfort isn't a set item. I absolutely hated being on board Emirates 777 in Y which is 10 across and only 17" width. I really felt if after changing off their A380 that is 18" wide. The aise was so narrow that everytime anyone went past you were brushed against. Awful.

The 787 in Y hasn't had good reviews on any airline I believe.
dddc is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:39 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,502
Originally Posted by Land-of-Miles View Post
I don't fly long haul Y but is this a 787 problem or a BA problem? Other airlines don't seem to get the same reaction to Y in their 787s.
I don't thik it's just a BA or a 787-specific issue. I read a few days ago about EK planning to cram more Y passengers into an A380, partly by removing First, but also by installing narrower Y seats .
SteveF is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:40 am
  #7  
V10
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Provincie Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, BelgiŽ
Programs: MUCCI Gold
Posts: 2,506
In general it's got further to go, in my opinion - it's only necessary to look at airlines like Spirit. There are also higher density "economy-minus" cabins being mooted allowing passengers to actively choose an even lower cost option. I'm not sure change will be forced from the regulatory side unless there is a future incident where it is demonstrably the case that loss of life occurred directly because of an inability to evacuate in time due to cabin constraints.

Whether BA decides to do any or some of these things remains to be seen. However, I couldn't agree that it's current economy offering really deserves the "quality" cachet either and don't see significant improvements on the horizon for passengers solely on the grounds of cost.

I now take the view that if long haul economy is the only option, I will not travel.
V10 is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 3:56 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: LCY/DUB
Posts: 3,177
I think like most other areas of capitalism, some airline will push too far and it will prompt regulation (of minimum passenger space, not solely driven by evacuation safety).

That said, with premium economy and business class (arguably) never having been cheaper, the situation is a bit more complex than "seats are getting smaller".
Kgmm77 is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 4:04 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 7,464
Whilst it is a complex issue, it comes down to the consumer wanting cheaper and cheaper air fares! Ultimately, if airlines continue to increase seating density in Y, and travellers continue to pay for said seats then we only have ourselves to blame.

That being said, I have not flown longhaul Y since 2009 and never care to experience this again. I guess you pay for the comfort you want to receive.
rossmacd is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 4:21 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Programs: QF(Platinum) VA(Platinum) EY(Platinum) NZ(Gold) AZ(Platinum) SPG(Gold)
Posts: 278
I would agree that airlines will only slightly overshoot what consumers will decide to put up with in exchange for a cheaper ticket - any major mismatch will ultimately correct itself as consumers draw a line.

While flight consumers are more price and condition takers than makers, we can say no thanks and avoid. I don't like much dropping thousands of dollars just to get a seat in a premium cabin that doesn't require undue intimacy with a stranger, especially on a non-ULH flight, but I'll wear it because the alternative is just too unpleasant.
SuiteFlight is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 4:43 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Split between MAN & AKL
Programs: BAEC GGL/CCR, SkyMiles Gold, Mucci deux fois
Posts: 619
Originally Posted by planestupid View Post
Who will stop 777s from going 11-across? Or 320s from going seven-across? Is it bound to happen?
FAA/CAA regs legislate for a maximum of 2 seats from an aisle these days.

So no chance of this anymore:



Channel Airways Trident.
PrimaVista is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 4:47 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 932
I believe that their are regulations about aisle width but not seat pitch nor width.

I am rather glad the market is left to decide. Gives people the choice of cheap and cramped or expensive and spacious and its only a few hours of your life.
Tim1975 is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 4:58 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2,351
Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
Good question. I wonder if in years to come we will see legal conditions for seat pitch and width. There are quite strict regulations about transporting animals - why not humans?
Because contrary to the whining on here, no human public transport comes close to being as bad as animals were and are subjected to...

Though as each configuration seems to require fresh safety approval (you can't even have your chair reclined a couple of centimeters on take off...) I find it hard to believe it isn't heavily regulated already.
callum9999 is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 5:07 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London UK
Programs: Iberia Plus Platinum (OWE), Alitalia Freccia Alta (SkyTeam Elite Plus)
Posts: 405
Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post
I think like most other areas of capitalism, some airline will push too far and it will prompt regulation (of minimum passenger space, not solely driven by evacuation safety).
Or, if enough passengers chose other carriers with a lower density setup, BA will be foreced to rethink their layout by market forces.
Cerebrito is offline  
Old Nov 20, 15, 5:15 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Brexile in ADB
Programs: BA, TK, HHonours, Le Club, Best Western Rewards
Posts: 7,066
Do also bare in mind that a awful Y experience increased the value of Y+ and J.
Worcester is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: