Something that drew my ire today was the Emirates 3rd frequency launch to Moscow – and how is how it described its seating. Here’s the statement from the 3rd daily route between Dubai and Moscow:
What’s the line that annoyed me? Highlighted for your pleasure are the words “310 spacious seats in Economy”.
Let’s get the first thing out-of-the-way – should room is limited aboard a Boeing 777-300ER when an airline gets greedy and shoves in 10 across seating. The v2 configuration offers across its classes:
- 8 First Class Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration
- 42 Business Class seats in 2-3-2 – hardly a premium configuration today, with airlines moving towards 1-2-1 direct access products, or staggered seat products
- 310 Economy seats in 3-4-3 with an average seat width of 17 inches/43.18cm at 32 inch/81.28cm seat pitch.
I think we’ve all seen the studies regarding 17″ and 18″seat pan, and how that leads to shoulder level comfort and rest – but from a personal perspective – I find 18″ to be comfortable, and that I don’t have to strain myself (or spray myself against the bulkhead to grab every space cubic centimetre of spare space.
As for the 32″ seat pitch… who else remembers when that was the norm long haul? The popular products these days focus on 31″ or below (see British Airways, American, United, etc etc, so if Emirates are defining spacious as seat pitch… I’d argue that isn’t enough. It’s a bit of extra room for your legs, but as a spacious seat… no.
Alas, market pressures are the killer, as airlines seek to densify planes to get the maximum possible value out of them and squeezing every passenger in they can into a metal tube, whilst fighting higher costs.
So, what can be done?
The age of 9 across in economy class in a Boeing 777 is nearing the end. Singapore Airlines are one of the last bastions of 9-across seating in the back of the plane – with both British Airways and Cathay Pacific succumbing to the temptation and savings that a 10 across plane can offer.
The move to premium economy for some will be the obvious one. However, for some passengers – this will come at a price they can’t justify. In some cases, the airline doesn’t offer it yet (in the case of Emirates) or don’t want to offer it (in the case of Qatar Airways), whilst some airlines confuse the matter with extra space economy product (as well as a premium economy product).
There’s always the option of denisfying Business Class – yes you heard me. Business Class is where you pay for space on the plane, and there are staggered products that can maximise the space for the passenger, whilst consuming less footprint in the cabin. It’s something British Airways did many moons ago with their Club World 8-Across product, as well as United (with their older Business Class seats).
But dear PR’s – the tweet I wrote summed it up best:
NEW RULE: Anyone/Any Airline who describes a 10-across Boeing 777 in economy class as spacious should have their CEO fly 10 long haul segments on it. In the back row of the plane. In the middle.
Then re-write the copy. pic.twitter.com/bDhuHTjOYd
— Kevin – Economy Class & Beyond (@EconomyBeyond) June 7, 2018
- Convince me your CEO is happy jetting back and forth in the back of your plane- rather than at the front
- Ensure that the plane is packed “at capacity”, so not to give the CEO a sense of entitlement.
- Chuck the CEO in the middle seats in the middle row in absolute back of the plane.
- And when all that is done, come back to me with quotes from the CEO of said airline the offered is “spacious”, and they didn’t feel constrained at all.
Then, I happily use spacious with a straight face.
Because in your author’s eyes 10 across in a Boeing 777 or 9 across in a Boeing 787 isn’t a spacious passenger experience.
It’s an awful one, that will make me seek out other options when flying.
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