British Airways crams seats into their Airbus narrowbodies.
- “Club Europe,” their intra-European business class (which has a blocked middle seat), offers 30 inches of pitch. That’s the distance from seat back to seat back. It’s the same as the worst coach seats in American’s new densified “Project Oasis” planes.
- Meanwhile standard economy has 29 inches of pitch. In contrast, European discounter Ryanair offers a minimum of 30 inches of pitch to all passengers.
British Airways Airbus A319
British frequent flyer blog Head for Points notes what BA has done to squeeze passengers into seats in their new Airbus A320neos.
the toilet was removed from the back of Euro Traveller to fit in an additional row of seats, and replaced with micro-toilets built into the back wall of the galley
the seats behind the emergency exit door were replaced with ‘no recline’ ultra-thin Recaro seats to allow a second additional extra row of seats to be fitted in …drop down monitors were removed, along with the tables in Club Europe, to save weight. there are no waste facilities or drinking water at the rear of the plane because of the need to fit in the loo..
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has determined (.pdf) that there’s too much weight at the back of the plane. With middle seats blocked up front for Club Europe, BA is having to block the last one to two rows of coach to compensate.
According to Head for Points, “Lufthansa has also had to block seats on its ‘densified’ A320neo aircraft, although this is only one row.”
There’s a limit, it seems, to how many seats airlines are able to cram into planes but not for the reason some U.S. consumer advocates have suggested. Groups like Flyers’ Rights have argued that evacuation standards may not be met with more passengers on planes. It turns out that weight and balance issues create a tail-heavy situation in airlines that offer more space to passengers up front.