Randy's Journal: Archives
The bottom line
Something everyone seems to want to talk about when they talk about flying is the comfort, or lack of it, in their seating.
I think the 787 will be a fine addition to the Boeing family, but what will it do in terms of seats for the airplane? Also, for airline comfort, seating is more important than how high the ceiling is or isn’t, so, what will the 787 offer to ensure that the passengers are comfortable?
Long Beach, California
The answer is, the Dreamliner will offer a lot in that department. One of the things that sets the 787 apart is the research we did on passenger comfort. For instance, what we found out is that the dimension that most correlates to comfort is the width of the airplane at seated eye-height. In other words, it’s very important to you how much room you perceive around you when you’re seated on an airplane. So we created a width that offers the best seated eye-height available.
Now, we agree that the seats themselves are also important. But something a lot of people don’t realize is that we don’t make the seats. Nor do we make the decision about the distance (pitch) between you and the seat in front of you. Those are decisions the airlines make.
However, in developing the 787, we’ve worked very closely with seat manufacturers. And we’ve established seat comfort standards that are now influencing the way seat manufacturers build seats. Because of this, you’ll begin to see airplane seats that are constructed in a way to give you more inches in front of you.
A close-up look at the new pitch-friendly economy class seats on display in the 787 mockup facility outside Seattle.
How is that done? Well, a typical airplane seat has a lot of padding. That padding may look comfy, but what it does more than anything is take up space. So, we’ve found that excess padding can be removed without sacrificing your comfort. And by maintaining proper support and adjusting seat construction so the seat parts don’t get in the way, inches of space can be “added” in front of each passenger without actually increasing pitch!
And we’re not stopping with seats. We’re making the sidewalls inside the 787 more vertical (so window seat passengers don’t feel hemmed in), and enhancing the lighting in the cabin to create a sense of spaciousness and freedom.
But to get back to the original comment: we think the 787 will be a great airplane with some great seats to set your buns in. And on those long-haul flights, that really is the “bottom” line.