Airbus brought a mock-up of an A320 interior to an Anaheim, Calif. trade show last week. Photo by staff photographer Stephen Carr.
I mentioned in a post last week that Airbus’s A320 airplanes are 7 inches wider than the comparable Boeing 737. That means Airbus customers can install seats that are 1-inch wider than on Boeing 737s. Not all airlines actually put in wider seats, for reasons I detailed last week, but at least they have the option.
Airbus is darn proud of this fact. So proud that they brought a mock-up of an A320 to a trade show last week in Anaheim. The seats above may look the same, but Airbus is actually trying to show why its setup is better. On the right, in orange, are 18-inch wide Airbus seats. On the left, in brown, are 17-inch Boeing seats.
Which one looks more comfortable to you?
Also, note the flooring. Apparently that’s an option for carriers, though I have never actually seen it in the air. In Airbus lingo it’s call “non-textile floor.” Have you ever seen it?
Here’s a fun fact for the day. According to Airbus officials, the cabin of the narrow-body A320 airplane is roughly seven inches wider than on the Boeing 737 – the airplane with which it competes.
Airbus officials made a big deal of this at this week’s APEXIFSA Expo in Anaheim – a trade show dedicated to improving the passenger experience for travelers. They say that the wider interior means airlines can install 18-inch wide seats, instead of the standard 17-inch ones. Or, they noted, an airline might put in two 17-inch seats in a row and then one 20-inch seat. Why might they do that? Because they could sell the extra wide seat for a higher price.
But here’s something that’s interesting. An Airbus official told me that many airlines still put in standard airline seats in the A320s, which means they don’t take advantage of the extra room. There seem to be two reasons. The first is efficiency. Airlines like to have the same seats for their entire fleet. So if they have Boeings and Airbuses, they may just prefer to have all 17-inch wide seats.
The second reason is less intuitive. A lot of the all-Airbus narrow-body fleets belong to low-cost carriers. Many of those airlines place a premium on having their airplanes on the ground for as little time as possible. For those airlines, an extra-wide aisle is very important. With an extra-wide aisle, passengers can take some time to put bags in overhead bins, while still allowing other passengers to walk behind them. This means planes can board faster.