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Airbus urges minimum seat width

An aeroplane takes off into the sunset30/10/13

By Paul McGurk

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has called for a new minimum seat width of 18in for long-haul flights.

This comes after new research showed sleep quality can receive a significant boost if seats are a little wider.

Plane-maker Airbus has an 18in minimum width in its long-haul economy cabins, while passengers in business class and first class cabins can enjoy wider seats.

Call for wider aeroplane seats

A spokesperson for Airbus said: "Other manufacturers are eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths from the 1950s in order to remain competitive."

The call comes after research carried out by Harley Street medical practice The London Sleep Centre.

The research involved an examination of brainwaves as well as eye, abdominal, chest, hip and leg movement among plane passengers as part of their journey.

The test concluded that 18in seats boosted sleep quality by 53 per cent when compared to 1950s-style 17in standard seating.

Wider seats boost passenger sleep quality

Leading researcher at the London Sleep Centre, Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, said: "The difference was significant.

"All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night's sleep in the 18in seat."

Kevin Keniston, Airbus' head of passenger comfort, looked at the possible knock-on effect of ongoing discomfort on planes.

He said: "If the aviation industry doesn't take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond.

He added that this was the case "especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service".

"This means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards."

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