Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Thu April 16 2015

Airbus Flirting With 11 Seats Across on A380

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | April 16, 2015

Airbus Flirting With 11 Seats Across on A380

PHOTO: Room for a few more? This Air France A380 shows a roomier 2-4-2 seating configuration. (Courtesy of Air France)

Here’s a rather unappealing possibility.

If you think sitting in the middle seat with passengers on either side of you is uncomfortable, how would you like to sit in a middle seat with two passengers on either side of you?

Some aircraft have that now, but it could become more commonplace if Airbus has its way.

According to Aviation Week, French aircraft manufacturer Airbus will offer airlines a new seat configuration on its popular A380 planes that features 11 seats across instead of 10. Despite what is expected to be a serious backlash from passengers who are already feel squeezed from shrinking seats – and despite Emirates Airlines withdrawing support for the idea even though the carrier was the first to suggest such an arrangement – Airbus told reporters at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Germany that the new seating configuration will be available as early as  2017.

Now, hang on before we all start sucking in our guts even more than we already are. Airbus says it can do this new seating arrangement without changing the existing seat width of 18 inches. How? Well the blog posted this on its site:

Yet the 3-5-3 A380 is obviously a downgrade from the passenger experience point of view. Leaving the centre seat of five aside, Airbus has achieved its record density by cutting seat width by between 1 and 0.5 inches, slashing armrest widths by just over 2cm (nearly an inch), angling window armrests outwards, trimming aisles and — in perhaps the worst case of foot space restriction for window passengers since Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop — jamming window seats up against the wall so far that they overhang six inches above the start of the curved sidewall.

Whether that, ahem, flies … remains to be seen.


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