Airbus is expected to introduce a new A350 model that will be able to accommodate 10 seats across in the main cabin, rather than the current 9 that most airlines utilize. While the mechanics of the plane will stay the same, Airbus is expected to make some modifications to the interior to allow 10 seats to fit across lengthwise.
Current Airbus A350
The current A350, for most airlines worldwide, has 9 seats across in the economy class cabin, divided into 3 sections — 1 row with 3 seats, an aisle, a center section with 3 seats, another aisle, and then the third section with 3 seats.
New Airbus A350-1000 Configuration
Airbus will soon introduce a model of A350 that has 10 seats across — the A350-1000 — with 1 row with 3 seats, an aisle, a center section with 4 seats, another aisle, and then the third section with 3 seats.
The manufacturer is able to put a tenth seat in the row thanks to widening the inner fuselage. While the fuselage itself is fixed, there’s a large gap between the exterior of the plane and the wall you see next to your seat, and thanks to some modifications of this wall, Airbus is able to squeeze that tenth seat in.
According to the manufacturer, this will come with the same seat width as the current configuration, though on-paper measurements may feel different than what you actually experience on the plane.
It’s estimated that adding more seats may add an additional 30 total extra seats onto the plane, which poses some challenges:
- This means more passengers using the restroom since additional restrooms won’t be added.
- It means more middle seats, where you’ll have passengers climbing over each other to use the restroom or get up mid-flight.
- It could increase the amount of time it takes to board the plane since there are additional seats onboard.
- It means more overhead bags are being stored in the overhead bins when many aircraft run out of space as it is.
- Additional seats mean additional checked bags, catering, etc., which creates additional overhead for the airline.
While adding more seats is great for an airline’s bottom line since they can create additional revenue, it reduces the passenger comfort onboard, even if the seat width remains relatively the same. Planes are already packed as it is, so the impact of adding a tenth seat to each row is yet to be seen.
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