Last month Airbus said it was considering the installation of larger aisle seats on its A320 aircraft following complaints from airlines which struggle to accommodate overweight travellers. However, the extra room would be created by reducing the width of other seats by an inch.
A survey by the website Skyscanner suggested that 84 per cent of fliers thought such a move would be “unfair”.
Airbus said the plans were in response to complaints from airlines, who it says have received a growing number of complaints from travellers who had been forced to sit next to an obese flier, and had their space encroached upon.
But airlines would almost certainly use the seating configuration to boost profits. Passengers would probably be asked to pay extra for the wider seats, which would help offset the extra fuel required to carry larger passengers.
Airbus is planning to offer aircraft with slightly wider seats to airlines in order to meet the needs of obese passengers. Photo: AP
Sam Poullain, a spokesman for Skyscanner, said: “The issue of charging more for bigger seats is a contentious one as it gives airlines a financial incentive to reduce standard seat sizes.
“Extra-wide seats are a clever way for airlines to generate more revenue, but it’s inevitable that some passengers will feel hard done by as they’ll be losing an inch from their seat widths.”
Seats on the A320 are currently 18 inches wide – the proposed changes would see aisle seats widened to 20 inches, but others reduced to 17. Airbus said this matches the average seat width on board the aircraft of rival manufacturer Boeing.
Around 20 airlines have expressed interest in the design, which should be available for the end of 2013, according to Airbus.
What is your view? What do you think would be the result if airlines began offering such an option? Would you pay more for an extra 5cm of seat width?
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