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As passengers grow ever wider, BA shrinks its seats

March 8, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Travellers on some British Airways B777 long-haul flights will have to squeeze into narrower seats following the airline’s latest overhaul of economy class – though passengers are steadily gaining weight, on average, with obese flyers finding even the existing seats a challenge.

BA this week revealed its makeover for the World Traveller section on its B777 long-haul fleet flying from Gatwick Airport. World Traveller is BA’s full-service long-haul economy class.

London’s Daily Telegraph was quick to point out that BA seemed keener to promote the fact that its entertainment screens were 50% bigger under the new design than to mention seat space. The airline neglected to divulge that its “elegant new seats” mean economy passengers will sit in spaces that are nearly 10% smaller.

How will this man fit in one of the new seats?

The World Traveller section will contain 10 seats per row, instead of nine, shifting from a 3-3-3 configuration to a 3-4-3 layout. The width of the plane’s fuselage (cabin) stays the same, of course. Industry experts say the new configuration cuts the size of long-haul seats by 1.5 inches (almost 4cm).

The paper said BA refused to disclose the new dimensions of its seats, “but when its part-owner Qatar Airways ‘densified’ its own 777 economy seats, their width shrank from 18.5 inches to 17”.

British Airways B777-236ER

BA’s move will add 12 more seats to the World Traveller cabin. This will increase overall revenue, but ‘densification’ of seating does not work well for travellers, as the width of their hips stays the same, or expands, while the distance between armrests narrows.

BA’s new configuration will debut later this year on routes to Kingston, Jamaica; Cancun Mexico; and to the Dominican Republic resort of Punta Cana. From next year, all BA long-haul flights from Gatwick will use the new layout.

Written by Peter Needham

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