International research from Airbus reveals that a new generation of discerning passengers are increasingly researching in-flight seat comfort prior to booking long haul full service flights. They are also prepared to dig deeper into their pocket to pay for more comfort in economy. Some 54 per cent believe an increase of seat comfort is critical, leading to 41 per cent prepared to pay more within economy and five per cent considering investing in an upgrade in search of more comfort. This growing cohort of economy passengers are increasingly not prepared to accept crusher seats and 34 per cent are turning to specialist websites, in order to determine true seat value prior to booking flights.
Passengers cited lack of sleeping comfort, back and leg ache as the top three factors for discomfort on long haul flights. They also said that seats that are too narrow would have a negative impact on their post flight well-being, impacting them with tiredness and sore muscles. Post flight well-being is of particular concern to business passengers who need to ensure they are able to perform in working environments. Depending on the region up to 70 per cent of economy class passengers travel for business*.
Kevin Keniston, Airbus Head of Passenger Comfort said: “Passengers are acutely aware of inflight comfort and this impacts purchase decisions. Our research reveals that almost half of economy passengers are prepared to pay more in order to get greater comfort in economy. Airlines are already responding by differentiating their seat offerings within classes and placing a price premium on more comfortable seat options - such as aisle, front row or emergency exit seats. Seat width however is a key determinant of comfort and as such passengers are increasingly investing time and money to avoid enduring a 17 inch crusher seat on a full-service, long haul flight.”
Airbus has always maintained seat width standard of 18 inches (45.72cm) for long haul full service economy in order to deliver greater comfort to passengers.