Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

November 18, 2017
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The main squeeze

The new (smaller!) seats aboard Airbus and Boeing airplanes

If you find flying uncomfortable now, it’s going to get worse. Airbus has debuted a new seat configuration for its A380 double-decker jets. Instead of 10 seats per row (in a three-four-three pattern) on the main deck; it has 11 (three-five-three). The airplane manufacturer is also offering airlines an extra seat on its more regular-sized A330 up from eight to nine per row. Its competitor, Boeing, is shrinking its seats too. Demand is down for its long-haul 777 models with nine seats per row; airlines increasingly want the 10-seat version. Say goodbye to legroom, too. The industry standard for the distance between coach seats used to be 33 inches; on the new Airbus A380 and Boeing 777, seat pitch could be between 27 and 29 inches. Interestingly, Boeing has designed new luggage bins for the 737 family of planes. The “Space Bins” can hold six standard carry-ons, two more than the current pivot bins. One drawback is that passengers will have less headroom.

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