Qantas 787 Economy Seat Width: Number Fudging?

2 replies

StudiodeKadent

Member since 20 May 2015

Total posts 109

At the time the 787 seat width was announced, the Qantas Dreamliner microsite specified that the width would be 17.4" (with no disclaimers). 


This is easily achievable; the 787 is designed to fit a nine-abreast layout with 17.2" seats and 18" aisles, however as Emirates and Air New Zealand have proven you can easily operate with 17" aisles in a widebody aircraft. Slimming the aisles down to 17" gives the necessary 2" to get those seats up to 17.422" and thus nearly the same width as the A380 seats (indeed, if you moved the external trios of seats just about a centimeter closer to the windows you'd be able to fit the exact same A380 seats into the Dreamliner). So in other words there was no reason to believe QF was lying about the 17.4" seat width; it is achievable on the 787-9 without slimming armrests. 

But recently the website changed to specify that the economy seats were 17.2" wide, but with an asterisked point stating "17.4" usable width."

How exactly did they measure "usable width"? What does that term imply? Did they made the armrests wider? And why did this change happen?

Himeno

Member since 12 Dec 2012

Total posts 289

The 787 isn't "designed" for 9 across at all. The majority of airlines (all but JL now) have decided to install 9 across instead of the 8 across the aircraft was designed for.

StudiodeKadent

Member since 20 May 2015

Total posts 109

The 787 isn't "designed" for 9 across at all. The majority of airlines (all but JL now) have decided to install 9 across instead of the 8 across the aircraft was designed for.

Boeing's own diagrams show the 787 with a 9-abreast layout, with 18" aisles and 17.2" seats. The cabin width was clearly calculated to allow airlines a choice between the layouts, and with the success of Emirates' 10-abreast 777s the market has spoken. Most economy passengers are not willing to pay the premium for wider seats. They're happy to get drunk on the plane and/or pop a valium, watch their entertainment screens and deal with the crush via distraction therapy. 

JL are an awesome airline (I had the privilege of flying First Class with them recently and holy shit they're brilliant... even though the language/culture barrier existed, the food was great, the service was so friendly and considerate, they serve $1000-per-bottle champagne, and I find them better than Emirates). But they're the only holdout on the wider seats, and when the A350s come into the fleet the seats will get narrower in economy; the A350 can only barely fit 18" wide seats at 9-abreast inside the cabin and that requires 17" aisles and/or armrest slimming.

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