Airbus is proposing an 18 inch (45.72cm) seat width as the standard for future long haul economy air travel.
This is the conclusion of research commissioned by the manufacturer Airbus into the impact seat width makes to levels of passenger comfort on board long haul economy flights. Airbus is calling on the aviation industry to set a minimum standard of 18 inches (45.72cm) in order to improve the comfort of long haul air travel.
The ground breaking research conducted by Harley Street medical practice The London Sleep Centre using polysomnography to record every standard physiological sleep measurement – including monitoring brainwaves, eye, abdominal, chest and hip leg movement – on a selection of passengers revealed that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53% when compared to the 1950’s 17 inch standard.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim of The London Sleep Centre commented: “The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer nights’ sleep in the 18 inch seat. They went from one sleep stage to the next as you would expect them to do under normal circumstances. Whilst, in the narrower 17 inch seat the passengers were affected by numerous disturbances during sleep - which meant they rarely experienced deep restorative sleep. When it comes to flying long haul in economy, an inch makes a huge difference on passenger comfort.”
Air Transport has changed significantly over the last 50 years. There are more passengers, flying further for longer distances. In the last 5 years alone the number of flights over 6,000 nautical miles (13+ hours flight time) has increased by 70% from 24 to 41 daily flights. In 1998 no flight over 7,000 nautical miles had ever taken place. In the next 15 years passenger traffic will double and by 2032, the world’s airlines will take delivery of more than 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft.
Kevin Keniston, Airbus’ Head of Passenger Comfort comments: “If the aviation industry doesn’t take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond – especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service. Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards.”