A proposal by Airbus to reduce the size of economy seats to make room for a few new extra-wide ones has been met angrily by passengers.
Airbus has suggested that it could increase the width of aisle seats on its A320s by two inches, to make them 20 inches wide. This would be at the expense of the middle and window seats, which would be reduced by an inch to just 17 inches wide.
The motivation for Airbus is apparently to provide a solution for larger passengers who don’t fit into standard seats and often have to book two seats at a higher cost. The change would be a major revenue incentive for airlines however, as they would more than likely charge a premium for the larger seats.
Suzana Hrnkova, Airbus’s head of cabin interiors marketing, said: “Over the last 30 years, human bodies have changed. We are bigger and taller, with larger shoulders and larger hips. Even our kids are getting bigger. So we have an idea to offer extra comfort for people who want to pay for it and generate additional revenue potential for airlines.”
A survey by flight comparison site, Skyscanner, found that 84% of passengers felt it wrong that most passengers would have to fit into a smaller seat as a result. The majority of the 1,000 people surveyed branded the idea “ridiculous” and “unfair”, said Skyscanner.
Sam Poullain, a spokesman for Skyscanner said: “The issue of charging more for bigger seats is a contentious issue as it gives airlines a financial incentive to reduce standard seat sizes. Airbus’ new extra-wide seat format is a clever way for airlines to generate more revenue, but it’s inevitable that some passengers will feel hard done by as they’ll be losing an inch from their seat widths.”
Airbus has not revealed which, if any, airlines will be installing the larger seats and what the likely cost to passengers might be.