Airbus has made plenty of noise about the A350's 18 inch seat width in economy being 'the standard for comfort' on long flights, but there's no guarantee that airlines flying the next-gen jet will play the same tune.
At least one A350 airline has already chosen to stack 10 economy seats per row, an Airbus executive confirmed to Australian Business Traveller, in a layout which reduces the seat width to a tighter 17 inches.
"The A350's extra wide fuselage is designed to accommodate a standard nine abreast 3-3-3 configuration in economy at 18 inches between armrests" says Chris Emerson, Airbus' senior vice-president of marketing.
"But some markets where they want to drive the cost-per-seat as low as possible are looking at the 10 abreast option, where you would be around 17 inches depending on the armrest and aisle width."
This slide from today's Airbus A350 presentation details the seating configurations available to airlines.
Airbus tags the 3-4-3 layout as a "high-efficiency" configuration, although passengers will no doubt have a different name for it.
And while Emerson would prefer that all of Airbus' A350 customers got the 18 inch religion, he explains that "It's our job to give the airlines the platform – then they have to decide how to utilise it."
Airbus will sell three versions of the A350: the compact A350-800, the mid-sized -900 and the super-stretched A350-1000.
These are expected to respectively seat 270, 314 and 350 passengers in a standard three-class cabin, although only at up to nine seats across in economy and not the tighter ten-wide layout.
Also read: Airbus A350 cabin, seats revealed
David Flynn is attending the Airbus A350 Cabin Reveal and Customer Definition Centre inauguration in Hamburg as a guest of Airbus.
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