At last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Airbus announced that it would soon offer airlines the option of extra-wide seats in coach on its A320 fleet. Good news? Debatable.
Yes, the aisle seats in the new configuration would be a spacious 20” wide (two inches wider than the current 18” seats). But to make room for the extra width, the middle and window seats would each shrink by an inch.
As Dominic Perry from Flight Daily News reported, the new configuration plans are based on airline, not passenger, feedback, and are meant to increase revenue, not comfort.
Airbus aircraft interiors marketing manager Stefanie Von Linstow explained at the Expo that airline feedback has shown preference for the aisle seat to be the widest. "Passengers in the window seat are already happy, and those in the centre seat might not be willing to pay as much for the extra width," Perry quotes her as saying.
Von Linstow admits that the new configuration is a response to what she politely labels a "growing population," and that it would be a "revenue-boosting solution that keeps a lot passengers happy."
No doubt, passengers paying a premium to be in an aisle seat would be content. As for the two-thirds of "growing" coach passengers sitting in the narrowing seats, it remains to be seen just how happy they'd be.