Seats on BA and their dimensions

Old Aug 23, 19, 11:00 am
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Seats on BA and their dimensions

Originally Posted by APUBleed View Post
I hope someone can indeed get a tape measure out next time they fly on a 787 and A350 because I am curious.
I am taking my cue for this thread from a post by @APUBleed, quoted above in this discussion about how cramped (or otherwise) the seating is on 787s:
British Airways 787 vs Others?

Now I've given the matter some thought. One aspect is something I've long since sough to confute is the issue of pitch. Pitch is the traditional measurement of the distance, parallel to the aisle, between two rows of seats, measured on the same point on each row. In the days when all airlines seats were fairly similar and bulky this wasn't a bad guide, but now it has become meaningless. Even on BA's shorthaul service alone, the depth of a former BMI Recaro A320 seat on LGW services is about 3 times that of the Recaro SL3510, the 9 kgs seat used at the back of NEOs. A 29 inch pitch on the SL3510 is more spacious than the 30 to 31 inches on the ex BMI LGW A320 aircraft since the old seats are so much thicker. Opinions will vary as to which seat is intrinsically the most comfortable.

How can one get a view of how cramped a seat or indeed an aircraft is? This is where it gets a bit subjective. My starting point is that legroom isn't really the issue. Most people seem able to get their legs under the seat in front, and with the exception of bulkhead seats - and those extremely tall - there will be sufficient space to stretch out. I appreciate that some people cannot bend their legs under the seat in front for various reasons. It's also physically difficult to measure. But there are two other factors which really make a difference to personal comfort on board: knee room and shoulder room. This is more of an issue for EuroTraveller, World Traveller and World Traveller Plus seating - for example the new Club Suites doesn't have a shoulder room issue, the seats are not connected to each other at the shoulder.

I have made an attempt to define this, and I will try and get some measurements in my future travels. I also need to keep this practical, so things that can be measured effectively and efficiently. I'm focusing on 4 such measurements, using this photo as a guide.



A) Mid seat to mid seat is all about shoulder room. The shorter this measurement, the closer you are to the shoulder of the person sat next to you. Now clearly the seat design can help or hinder this, as well as differences in recline. Here I am measuring the mid point of seat E and the mid point of seat F.

B) Knee room: this is the distance from edge of the seat to the seat in front. However you sit, your knees have to occupy this space. There are a few complexities here - the seat back pocket holding the safety card takes a bit of space, also there is about 1 cm of "give" between the seat covering and the hard back of the seat in front.

C) Seat width: so this is the gap between the arm rests. Arm rests are getting increasingly thin and light, and mostly they can be raised on one or both sides.

D) Seat depth: from the seat edge to the back of the seat to where it joins with the back of the seat.

Here are some initial measurements to get going with:



Any comments?
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:12 am
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I think this is a great idea. In particular I’m now curious about the actual difference in seats between the identical looking 3-4-3 LGW 777 and A350, to me I didn’t really notice a difference but lots love the A350 and hate 10 abreast 777, I guess it depends on aisle width too? I look forward to seeing the tables of data expanding.

I would say I’d help but don’t know how I can get a tape measure before my next load of flights. And they’re on A321 and A350 so not much use.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:25 am
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Very interesting.

Just a thought, but how do you suggest measuring A on a consistent basis - perhaps using the clips on the tray tables?
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:30 am
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B) Knee room: this is the distance from edge of the seat to the seat in front. However you sit, your knees have to occupy this space. There are a few complexities here - the seat back pocket holding the safety card takes a bit of space, also there is about 1 cm of "give" between the seat covering and the hard back of the seat in front.

Thanks, this will be a very useful and insightful guide when populated a bit further. A great start, thanks for doing this c-w-s.

A few comments/suggestions?

1) should we agree on the seat back contents? (2 BA magasines and an air sick bag for example?) If the tape measure is going to measure the knee room this will impact where the material ends/tape measure reaches IMO. Could go with empty pockets but not realistic as hard to chuck those contents to achieve the space mentioned when in flight and also harder to measure it on the quick when opportunity presents itself.

2) Not sure if the angle of the seat influences the knee room? If the seat is always horizontal (flat) then we wouldn't need to look at this aspect but I suspect there may be a slight incline to the rear? If so, should we be trying to measure on the same inclined angle to the seat back in front? (as the thighs will be in this angle and impact the length if the seat angles do change between aircraft...(or is this yet another measurement if there is indeed different inclines to seats in WT+, WT, ET, especially between aircraft types rather than cabins (so 321 ET to 319 ET not 321 CE to 321 ET)?

Again, a great idea, thanks for starting it...happy to assist if needed and desired. (although I don't fly much!)
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:35 am
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Thanks, will be interesting to see how they compare.
Iím also interested in how close the seat is to the wall for window seats, so is centre of the seat to the wall at shoulder height less than or more than half of dim A?
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:50 am
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great thread idea !!

interesting to see what the results from WT show on the 747 and 777 densities which due to fly on in October.

Being nearly 200cm tall its a real struggle to get into some airline seats !!
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Old Aug 23, 19, 11:56 am
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Wow. I didn't take my tape measure with me today, maybe I should have 😅 But I agree, your measurements are probably more valuable than the pitch that airlines use these days.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 12:13 pm
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I'd like to propose the new pitch measurement being effectively being B+D. I'd measure from the bottom of the hinge of the tray table on a horizontal line to the centre of the seatback with the seat as far forwards as it goes ( i.e. not reclined).

Not a perfect measure of the amount of room a passenger will have, but it's something that should be consistently measurable and doesn't rely on there being or not being contents in the seatback. At least it can give a "pitch index" as a useful comparison.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Blackheathflyer View Post
Just a thought, but how do you suggest measuring A on a consistent basis - perhaps using the clips on the tray tables?
Centrers can be difficult to measure, so a trick I learned when working in a machine shop was to measure edge to edge. The distance is a the same (especially when measuring hole centre-to-centre distances drilled in a piece of steel) Say the left edge of seat A to the left edge of seat B.

Takes the guesswork out of exactly where the mid point is and should be easy to get repeatable results from many people measuring.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 1:38 pm
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Neat Thread, C-W-S. ^

From my limited experiences, the B+D dimension is what counts for taller men, and of course most people can probably manage to add the 2 numbers together!

I was really surprised on my recent Jet2 experience of how large their B+D was ... very comfy for an hour or so. Likewise a distant Stobart ATR experience. But BA’s CE pitch, in this context, seems very small.

Last edited by T8191; Aug 23, 19 at 1:44 pm
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Old Aug 24, 19, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
One aspect is something I've long since sough to confute is the issue of pitch. Pitch is the traditional measurement of the distance, parallel to the aisle, between two rows of seats, measured on the same point on each row. In the days when all airlines seats were fairly similar and bulky this wasn't a bad guide, but now it has become meaningless.

Any comments?
In the wider sense, the seat pitch measurement can still convey useful information about passenger density and 'personal space' which the other measurements don't : for example at 31" you're 2" (7%) further from the persons in front and behind than at 29", and there's 7% more locker space too.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 7:04 am
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Old Aug 24, 19, 10:17 am
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This is a good idea

One issue with measure A however is that for A and F seats - or whichever the seats are by the fuselage - depending on where the window is in relation to the seat you either get more shoulder room (if your shoulders meet the window) or far less shoulder room (if your shoulders meet the 'join' in the interior cladding lid way between the windows)

As a broad bloke, the positioning on the window can make the difference between being able to sit straight or having to lean into the middle seat passenger, annoy them and get a bad back in the process!
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Old Aug 24, 19, 10:20 am
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...sorry and another thought

It is good you have added the row number. On BA UK domestic flights the seat pitch often reduces by one inch from row 13(ish) backwards.

I'm 200cm tall and can just fit into the seats (legroom wise) near the front of the plane, but if I get allocated one of the back rows (as I did once when my flight was cancelled and I was reassigned to another flight) I cannot get into the seat. My knees are rammed into the back of the seat in front of me before my buttocks have touched my own seat base!!!!
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Old Aug 24, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Jagboi View Post
Centrers can be difficult to measure, so a trick I learned when working in a machine shop was to measure edge to edge. The distance is a the same (especially when measuring hole centre-to-centre distances drilled in a piece of steel) Say the left edge of seat A to the left edge of seat B.

Takes the guesswork out of exactly where the mid point is and should be easy to get repeatable results from many people measuring.
Of course, the centre of the seat back is marked quite nicely with tray table lock thing. David Walliams probably knows the proper name for it!
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