Re: A330/340 vs. B777

Date:         04 Jan 97 03:55:49 
From:         matt@firstsol.com (matt weber)
Organization: 1st Solutions Inc.
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>Thus, for most flights, the dreadful middle seat of the 2-5-2
>configuration is not an issue.  According to Boeing, the standard economy
>seat on the B747 and B777 is 1.5 inches wider than than the standard
>economy seat on the A300/310/330/340.  Nevertheless, comfort is a very
>subjective thing.  Also, some people will believe what they are told to
>believe.

As someone who actually gets to travel in the passenger cabin upwards of
100,000 miles a year, let me put my two cents worth in here. The shape of the
Airbus cabin is somewhat different than a Boeing widebody cabin, in that the
Boeing Fuselage walls are essentially vertical, on Airbus aircraft they are
canted inward, reducing shoulder room in the window seats.  However seat
pitch, and seat design are probably a greater factor in comfort than seat
width. Admittedly the choice of seats is made by the airline, but I'd like to
catch up with the guy who did the seats for Kuwait Airways in their Airbus
widebodies. (and it isn't just the seats 'down the back' either).

My experience is there is a huge difference between the 38-40 inch seat pitch
used by many US carriers in business class, and the 50 inch now often seen
outside the US. First class seat pitch ranges from about 55 inches to well
over 6 feet in the current BA twin aisles, and even more on the Ansett
Australia 'space ship' 747-300's. From my perspective, once the seat pitch is
such that your feet cannot reach the seat in front of you, it no longer makes
much difference. In other words I wouldn't pay a premium to get past about 55
inches. The middle seat down the back is awful not so much because of its
width, but because the seat pitch is so limited. Given the choice between
2-5-2 seatings with say 34 inch pitch, and 2-4-2 seating with 31 inch pitch, I
suspect most people would take the legroom over the seat width.

The big complaint I have about the Airbus twin aisles is the cabin storage.
Compared to a 747 (and-400's tend to be more spacious than -200/300's) or 777,
A300/310 is very limited. In addition the bins on the 777 has been designed to
be both cavernous, and designed not to dump on people who open them. I wish I
could say the same for Airbus. You get more overhead storage on a Boeing, and
it is better designed.

The other observation is if you make the cabin service good enough, you can
get away with a lot in the seats. I've been surprised at just how
uncomfortable the seating was in Singapore Airlines 747-400 First class, and
in  A310's.(it wasn't so much a lack of space, as just not so great design of
the seats).  The 747 experience was about 3 years ago, I fly on SQ A310's
several times a year.

My opinions and experiences anyway.