Airbus adds extra seats to A380, leaving passengers with less room

Airlines are considering shrinking the width of seats and cramming more passengers per flight. The new configuration was unveiled at Aircraft Interiors Expo, held recently in Hamburg, Germany. The new seating arrangement will be available from 2017.

Airbus A380
The mighty Airbus A380 at Hong Kong Airport.

Those flying economy on Airbus planes will soon find themselves jostling for leg and elbow room aboard the A380 Superjumbo. The aircraft maker has demonstrated a new design, adding an extra chair to each row so as to accommodate seats at 11 abreast as against an earlier design of 10 seats per row. This new design on board the A380 Superjumbo will be offered as an option for airlines from 2017.

Cramming of an extra seat in the middle section will now see configuration changing from 3-4-3 to 3-5-3, while to come into effect from 2017, Airbus will also be creating a fourth cheaper class called ‘Choice Economy’ in a move that reflects 90 percent of fliers who opt for economy class.

Airbus A380 seats from 2017
New seat format for economy class.

Fortunately however, the addition of a seat will not change seat width for economy class holders wherein width stands at 18” in line with the dictates of aircraft manufacturer’s manifesto, keeping seat size as standard throughout the industry. Airbus asserts that this new arrangement will allow it to maintain width of seats while adding an extra seat though the width of arm rests will be considerably reduced leaving passengers jostling for elbow room.

Airbus A380 will hence be proclaiming 544 seats as compared to an earlier 525 seating configuration while the addition revenue per aircraft will be at $20m per annum and fuel burn reduction will be at 40 percent. Airbus will be offering this budget category across its long haul flights with 9 seats on the A330, 10 seats on A350 and 11 seats on A380.

Airbus A320 Recaro Seats
Apart from this, Airbus A320 will get supplier-furnished-equipment (SFE) Economy Class seat option, built in association with Recaro.