Airbus looks into wider seats for wider passengers – the next money-spinner?

Airbus's concept explores shrinking the window and middle seats slightly and widening the aisle seat on A320 jets.

Airbus looks into wider seats for wider passengers - the next money spinner?

An A320 cabin. Source: JetBlue

European plane maker, Airbus is studying a new idea that could see narrower window and middle seats and wider aisle seats in the cabin for larger passengers, an executive said.

The idea is being explored by Airbus specifically for A320 jets, which offer three-by-three abreast seating.

Larger profits

Simon Pickup, director of business operations for Airbus Americas said the idea could in theory create more revenue for airlines, who could charge passengers extra for the ‘premium’ aisle seat, Bloomberg reported.

“It offers airlines a unique way to increase ancillary revenue, it’s unique to the A320 cabin and it certainly would be the most comfortable economy-class seat offered on any current airplane,” Pickup was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

The concept would involve shrinking the window and middle seats from 18 inches to 17 inches wide between the armrests – and widening the aisle seat to 20 inches, the report added.

When approached for comment, Airbus was keen to stress that the idea was still at a concept stage.

An Airbus spokesperson told Terminal U: “As a manufacturer we look at a myriad of possibilities for cabin outfitting and are in constant contact with our customers [airlines] to determine if their feedback justifies further development of a concept.

“This is just one of many examples of that process. We have no further comment at this stage.”

What do you think of Airbus’s seating concept? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

What others have said

  1. If this is the way to go with Airbus, then I would choose to fly with airline who operate Boeing. As a person who is 5’8″ @ 138Lb, the current economy class seating is uncomfortable enough but tolerable for flight 1.5 hours or less. If the seat get smaller, then it is very unpleasant to be even tolerable in that 1.5 hours. Why does organization like to find way to torture the one that is or attempt to stay fit and reward those who is not? American Airlines has good policy on passenger who require larger seat need to pay for an extra ticket for two seats if the plane is full.

  2. This may work on European domestic flights, but the average American has too large a butt to fit into a 17 inch seat. What if the “extra, extra large person refuses to pay more, claiming discrimination – which will happen. Instead of 18″ on which they will spread their blubber they will futher annoy even more their unwitting seat mates. There are so few seats available that it is almost impossible to get a seat away from someone whose flesh rolls over the arm of the seat next to you. I used to travel extensively and experienced many things, such as someone who smelled putting their bodies on my arm to the man who drooled on my business suit. Give us a break, seats are already too small, don’t let those plane fly in the United States.

    • You are by far the most unintelligent, ignorant human being on earth. No one wants to sit next you’re stinky European body either!

  3. If seat & knee/leg space isn’t already cramped in coach! Another reason why we choose to travel less and less by air.

    Although gas has climbed we travel 4 to a car with comfy seats. Can stop when we want, no bathroom lines, the back of a seat is not in my lap or have to deal indifferent flight attendants, rude passengers or out-of-control children.

  4. What a REALLY bad idea! Take the seats that suck and make them worse. How about this as an alternate idea? Make the middle seat wider! That would slightly even out the suckiness of coach seating discomfort. This will certainly be viewed by the flying public as just another way to make them hate flying even more.

  5. So this is an “interesting” concept – Charge people of size more for the ‘privilage’ of sitting in an aisle seat 2″ larger while penalizing and taking AWAY comfort (in an already uncomfortable environment)from people of average size. Sure sounds like a “win-win” all the way around – except maybe for the airlines who will get to watch this explode on them as they T off more customers. Can noone think towards long term ramifications in the airline industry? Then they wonder why the government is hostile towards them.

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