Pontifications: Passenger experience and the WOW factor

By Scott Hamiltn

By Scott Hamilton

June 29, 2015, © Leeham Co. Back on June 1, I wrote in this column I had yet to experience traveling on the Airbus A380, which entered service in 2007. The A380 doesn’t serve Seattle, where I live, and I really didn’t have a desire to add hours and a connection to my travels just to fly the A380 if I could go non-stop. Note that this is precisely the argument advanced by Boeing, but this is a coincidence. I have yet to fly on the Boeing 787, either, and it does fly into Seattle from Asia.

A reader Tweeted to me his incredulity that in all these years I hadn’t flown the A380. I replied, All in good time. I knew when I wrote that I would be returning from the Paris Air Show on an A380 via Los Angeles. The time had come for me to experience the airplane. (Interestingly, Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times, unbeknownst to either of us, wrote he’s doing the same thing via New York on Air France. I would be flying Air France. Friends warned me that the passenger experience on Air France, however, was hardly what the A380 is all about.

They weren’t kidding.

I had been on the test A380 during static displays before, but never in a passenger-configured model. At the PAS, Qatar Airways had its own little air show, displaying more airliners than any OEM: the A319, A320, A350 and A380 plus the 787. The A350 and A380 were open to the press. As with anyone in the industry, I had long-heard of how the Middle Eastern airlines went over the top on outfitting their cabins, but I wasn’t remotely prepared for the Qatar A380. Walking on board, into the first class section, was a jaw-dropping “wow” moment.

QR A380 F Class 1

Qatar Airways’ first class section on the Airbus A380 includes very wide seats, with a warm set of colors in the airline’s grey-and-purple colors. Click on image to enlarge.

The photos from my cell phone hardly do it justice. The spaciousness of the A380 is greater than the Boeing 747. The first class seats are the widest I’d ever seen. These were little suites, not like the suites of some other airlines, but nice and private, to be sure. The IFE screens in first are a whopping 26 inches, the widest I’d seen on an airplane and bigger than some of my early TVs (which pretty well dates me). The colors were a mixture of Qatar’s grey and purple, providing a particularly warm environment. Take note of this when I come back to Air France.

QR A380 F Class 2

The IFE screen in the first class section of Qatar Airways’ A380 is a whopping 26 inches. It’s 17 inches in business and 11 inches in coach. Click on image to enlarge.

Moving on to Business Class (J Class), the warmth and spaciousness continued. The IFE screens were 17 inches, still much larger than I’ve been used to in J on Western airlines. Even Coach had a good-sized IFE screen, 11 inches. Qatar has a huge bar at the aft end for J and F class passengers. The decor, the opulence, everything about Qatar’s A380 produces a Wow factor.

I mentioned at the top of this column that I haven’t flown the 787 but I was at Qatar’s show-and-tell in a Boeing hangar for delivery of its first 787. The same warmth. coupled with Boeing’s Sky Interior design, flows through the 787. But the 787 only has J and Y classes (or it did at the time), and the smaller real estate limits what Qatar could do compered with the giant A380. The Business Class is similar between the planes, and what struck me at the time was that the B/E Aerospace-designed J Class seat was the first in a long time where the controls were easy to understand and I didn’t feel I needed an engineering degree to operate them. However, the Recaro-supplied coach seats at 3x3x3 abreast and a tight pitch were among the most uncomfortable I’ve sat in. The same is true for the Recaro seats in US domestic-equipped Boeing 737s. I can’t imagine an international flight in the 16.9 inch Recaro seats vs the 19 inch A380 coach seats, if I were forced to fly coach as opposed to Business, which is my habit.

QR A380 Bar 2

This is the bar in the Qatar Airways A380. Qatar has won several top awards for its passenger experience. Click on image to enlarge.

Cabin configuration, of course, is entirely up to the airline and nothing illustrates this more than the contrast to the Air France A380. The flight experience was fine: the cabin was spacious, the loos easily capable of Mile High use and there was plenty of room to stretch, stand and walk about during the 10 hour flight. But the cabin itself, the airline choice, was pedestrian, antiseptic and quite representative of Western airlines in Europe and the US. While American, Delta and United here and Lufthansa in Europe are whining about unfair competition and Open Skies, Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al-Baker, is right: passenger experience may well be a better reason why the Middle East Big 3 are making inroads into US and European traffic.

Finally, a word about Boeing.

Boeing creatively led the way for the first major redesign of cabin configuration and visual appeal with the 787 since adoption of the wide-body interior look across all narrow- and wide-bodied airplanes. These designs were miles ahead of the open hat-racks and the first enclosed overhead bins, but had largely plateaued by the time the 787 design came along. The 787’s design inspired the 737 Sky Interior and the makeover of the 747-8 cabin look. Airbus trailed with the A320’s interior, having revamped it in 2007 into a highly functional and somewhat appealing look, but it’s main virtue was–functional. In 2009 Boeing unveiled the 737 Sky Interior and its 787-inspired look was, and is, visually well ahead. Airbus did a good catch-up with the A350 but as yet hasn’t done a real refresh of the A320. On cabin appeal and innovation, Boeing deserves the check mark. But in the end, it’s still up to the airline.

So what’s the bottom line?

If I were flying a route where the choice was an A380 vs a 747 or a 777 or 787 or an A330 or A350, because of the extra spaciousness, room to walk around and stretch without bumping into or stepping over others, the A380 is the obvious choice. The extra room really does make a difference on a long flight. But as I mentioned at the top of this column, I’d still prefer the non-stop, point-to-point flight in a Big Twin over adding hours through a hub to connect to an A380. It all depends on the travel pattern, and living in far-flung Seattle limits options.

 

49 Comments on “Pontifications: Passenger experience and the WOW factor

  1. P2P is the pattern on which Jan Carlzon turned around SAS into “The Businessman’s Airline” with black Annual Report numbers. In 1982, when Carlzon took the helm after Björn Törnblom, the latter had just bought a number of A300 wide-bodies, the operational idea being to collect and coax Scandinavian travellers from all over Sweden, Denmark and Norway into CPH and fly them on to wherever they were heading for (London, Paris, …) in the all-new nice big A300 … Carlzon grounded the sparkling new A300 and got them parked outside the SAS Headquarters building at Bromma Airport, telling that he wanted to convey the message across to his people : a new era has started for SAS, because the Customer doesn’t want to walk up and down the corridors of CPH to swap aircraft, but rather fly direct to destination…

    SAS was an Engineering-lead airline, middle management thought Carlzon had gone plain crazy, but Marketeer Carlzon was right, the turn-around based on an expanded DC9/MD80 Series feeder fleet did away with the red numbers and proved the better strategy. Nobody relishes hub-sitting these days, except when the hub is a Shopping Paradise (Abou Dhabi, Doha, Dubai).

    • P2P makes sense on continental flights and a select number of intercontinental flights. However, airports such as SEA and BGO will in all likelihood never be connected by non-stop flights to airports such as HAV/UIO/SCL/ADD/LOS/JNB/BOM/BLR/BKK/SGN/MEL/PER/ etc., etc.

      The name of the game today as well as in the future, for most intercontinental city pair connections, will not be P2P but one-stop to anywhere.

      Just how big can they get? Clark said of his airline: “It’s anybody’s guess. Thirty years ago when we sat down and worked out our business model, we never thought it was as scaleable as it was. Within eight hours [flying time] we’ve got 5.5 billion people. In the old days they weren’t moving, and now they’re moving. We’ll have 60,000 to 70,000 permutations of city pairs you could do, if you put your mind to it. So long as we do, and Dubai continues to grow its airport or airports, when does that end?”

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/20/gulf-airlines-emirates-etihad-qatar-success-hostility-us-european-carriers

  2. It’s unfortunate your experience of th A380 is probably the worst one out there!

    However, the dilemma for travellers, both leisure and business, in different locations is far different from your Seattle scenarios.

    Europe to Asia is a massively competitive space and regardless of whether work or I personally are picking up the bill. A layover can often mean travelling in a different class in more ways than one. Europe to Asia direct in Air France economy or indirect with a layover of a couple of hours in ME3 business for close to the same price is a very good option for many. Throw Turkish into the same category.

    With wifi onboard and comfortable lounges it means the extra travel time can actually end up being more productive than direct ‘traditional’ airlines

  3. I would agree wholeheartedly on the hub sitting sentiments above if I lived in London or Paris. However, from here in Dublin, the advent of a double daily 777 with Emirates to Dubai and a double daily 330/777 with Etihad to Abu Dhabi has been a godsend. I would rather my hub sit was in the gulf rather than Heathrow or Paris anyday. The airlines themselves are great, efficient, timely and friendly and they go everywhere to the east and south that I ever need to go. That that is a common sentiment here in Dublin is born out by the fact the airlines seem to fill all 1,200 seats they offer daily from this little town of 1.5mm people. It also avoids the egregious passenger taxes in the UK and cuts our business class travel costs between 30 and 50%.
    All of these seats have been lost to the European and Asian majors that used to rely on us (and the folks from Glasgow/Edinburgh/Newcastle and Manchester) meekly funnelling ourselves through Heathrow. That BA went and built the most sterile, unfriendly, inefficient and hard to connect in terminal in T5, LHR only exacerbated the effect.
    Anyway, blessings be upon the middle east carriers and the sooner the bleating stops from the mollycoddled, protected and frankly piss-poor US carriers, the sooner our cousins all over America will be able to enjoy the service they deserve from the Gulf carriers.

  4. Having been for many years a frequent Europe-Asia traveller, I continue to prefer a non-stop flight on “pedestrian” Air France to a EK/EY/QR in-flight experience with a 2-3 hours stop in the middle of the night in a crowded shopping mall/terminal.

    But the attractive fare, even in Business class, is difficult to resist.

    • I live in France too, and the only place I can get a non-stop Air France flight to is… Paris.

      So, from NCE to Asia it’s 1 or 2 stop on Air France, or guaranteed 1-stop on Emirates. And avoiding CDG is worth something to me.

      So, for anywhere further away than BKK, I’m winning on Emirates with 1 stop less.

  5. I have flown the a380 and been mightily impressed. Beyond that I have found that the simple principal to adopt is fly on younger aircraft if at all possible. The one caveat to that is the b787. Judging from the comments on all passenger forums there is almost universal dislike of the seat width and the positioning of the ife box. I for one would avoid this on normal flights (except one trip of course!). It will be interesting to see if and when this comes back to haunt airlines. Note the load factors on a380, comfort does sell

  6. IMO, Boeing has painted themselves into a corner by, realistically, only being able to offer 17 -17,2 inch-wide seats across their product portfolio. Seemingly, they were too clever-by-half when deciding upon the 787 cross-section. They wanted to “beat” the A330 by being able to offer 9 abreast with a 737-level of comfort – something the A330 can’t do – but apparently did not take into account the possibility of Airbus developing an all new WB that could offer 9 abreast with an A33o level of comfort and that an A330neo would be competitive at 8 abreast.

    With the 777X following suit with the same sub-standard 737-level of economy class seat width – tolerable IMO for short to medium ranged flights, but not for long range intercontinental flights – Boeing has “cleverly” painted themselves into a corner. For the next quarter century, at least, Airbus will IMJ have a competitive advantage that might become more significant with a raising awareness among passengers.

    With the 787 (Y2) Boeing had the chance to “start from scratch”. IMJ, they blew it, cross-section-wise. I’m quite sure that Boeing originally was looking at a minimum 18-inch seat width in economy class for the the Y1, Y2 and Y3. However, instead of designing a slightly wider fuselage for the 787, somewhere along the way they apparently became too pre-occupied with the A330 cross-section – trying to “beat it on the cheap” – and “forgot” all about the Y1 and Y3.

    Yes, the 787 is wider than the A330, but the level of comfort at 9 abreast and 8 abreast, respectively, is not equal. For sure, Randy B. was playing fast and loose with the truth back in 2006. In the end, it may look as if he he was only fooling himself (and Boeing).

    In the image above, you can see that the cross section we chose for the Dreamliner allows us to provide a 9-abreast configuration – with the same kind of comfort levels you find in economy class in today’s airplanes such as in the 747 and the A330/A340. Basically, the very same triple seats used in the 747 could be used in a 9-abreast configuration in the 787.

    http://www.boeingblogs.com/randy/archives/2006/04/max_headroom.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEAy1KHMVtw&feature=youtu.be

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeTxDyDYHyQ

    • Oh piffle. The 787 has 1,105 orders and the 777 has 1,852. It is Airbus that’s painted themselves into a corner with their narrow fuselage on the A330 vs the 787, and the misnamed A350XWB, which is far narrower than the 777. You seem to forget it is airlines that buy jets, not passengers, and airlines like the flexibility of a wider fuselage.

      Passengers book their flights on the the basis of schedule and price. No one is going to add six hours to a trip to get an extra thumb width of seat on an Airbus, and they won’t pay more for it either.

      • I would personally trade that extra thumbs width in coach for the higher humidity, fresher air and larger window in the 787. If I was given the choice of course. But you are correct, people will choose the cheaper ticket (especially when they are paying for it) and the most efficient planes sell best and they will affect the choices given.

        • The thumb (one inch) is only correct for an endless row of seats. At 3-3-3 the person in the middle has 3 thumbs more space because the persons seated at the aisle can move to the aisle.

          The B787 higher windows than the A350 but the A350 has wider windows…

          The humidity of the B787 is higher compared to older jets.

          I would trade the “fresh” bleedless air against lower noise level.

          • “The thumb (one inch) is only correct for an endless row of seats. At 3-3-3 the person in the middle has 3 thumbs more space because the persons seated at the aisle can move to the aisle.”

            That’s really the essence of the issue at hand.

            The 787 is very comfortable in business class. In coach, though, maybe not so comfortable.

            Looking at the image in the CNBC link below, Jim McNereny (middle seat) doesn’t seem to mind to be rubbing shoulders with United CEO Jeff Smisek (aisle). Nice an cosy space for three full-grown men. 😉 I’m sure Jim didn’t object to fly in coach on a 787 just that one time.

            http://www.cnbc.com/id/100751707

          • @OV-099
            Maybe this could have been the triggering event when McNerney realized on his two hour trip in coach from Houston to Chicago that Boeing needs to carve out the 777 fuselage.

      • “It is Airbus that’s painted themselves into a corner with their narrow fuselage on the A330 vs the 787”

        Yes, the A330 is such a sales dog, isn’t it? When did Airbus and Boeing set the fuselage width of the A330 and 787? Ludicrous argument. ROTFL. Ha ha ha.

      • BS – after 2 really uncomfortable 11 hour flights on a 10-abreast 777 (even the cabin crew refer to them as Cripple 7s) I’d pay more for extra space.

      • @Rick Shaw

        The 777 was launched as a wide-body capable of having 18.5-inch-wide seats at 9 abreast – or 0.5″ more than the A330/A340 at 8 abreast. In fact, it was originally marketed by Boeing as a product having more comfortable seats in enonomy class.

        AFAIK, 70 percent of all 777 operators are still using 9 abreast on their 777s, and more than 55 percent of all 777s flying are configured at 9 abreast in economy class.

        Hence. it’s pretty absurd to includ all of the 777s that have been ordered since the programme was launched in 1990 – including freighters – in order to “bolster” your argument.

        Furthermore, Emirates helped “pioneer” 10 abreast the 777. However, the narrow 17″ seat width was compensated by a larger seat pitch of 34″: or about 2 inches more of pitch than the typical standard of 32″ inch pitch and 18.5″ seat width.

        With the 787 at 9 abreast and the 777X at 10 abreast, the “new” Boeing standard is 17.2″ seat cushion width and 32″ pitch – more narrow than ever before.

        As for the A330 and A350 having a “narrow” fuselage – well, everything is relative, right? The 777 is really narrow compared to the A380, while the 767 and A330 are more narrow than the 787 – yet, the 767 at 7 abreast and A330 at 8 abreast will have wider seats than the 787 at 9 abreast. Likewise, the narrow A350 will have wider seats at 9 abreast than the 777 at 10 abreast.

        Of course, one can stick one’s head in the sand and pretend that for airlines – however negative the passenger reactions to the narrow seating on their Boeing airliners will turn out to be – going forward, this is going to be a non-issue.

        Hence, I wouldn’t bet against more and more passengers in the future, booking their flights on the basis of schedule, price and aircraft type, when you have several different aircraft types flying the same routes. If the price is the same and the flight schedule very similar, I wouldn’t be too surprised if ever more passengers would chose to fly on the aircraft with the wider seat.

        Finally, why don’t you watch the two youtube videos: Qatar Airways 787 and A350 in Y.

  7. Recently, I have the chance to fly on BA from Kuwait to London LHR and continue my flight from LHR to Montreal YUL making use of BA OLD B747-400 and BA NEW B787 planes respectively.
    Both sectors were full.
    I would like to say, that I feel sorry for the way passenger of B787 economy class were canned. There is no doubt. B747-400 seats are much more comfortable than the new seats of B787.
    I am asking, What is the use of providing 100 TV channels and free duty facilities if you don’t feel comfortable with your seats.
    Airline companies has to look at the comfort of economy class passengers ( not on first & business class passengers only) if they want to keep their business in future.

    • about three years ago I found myself on a very old LH 744, so old there was no IFE. Most comfortable flight I have had for a long time.

  8. From the home of fast food and ever growing obesity issues, I am surprised that it is an issue continually ignored on American airliners.
    Even with my modest dimensions, a 17″ seat is an issue.
    Perhaps a new design of pants pocket for gents is overdue.

  9. Scott, I love AF’s A380. As a Londoner flying to LAX, I go via Paris when the prices are comparable to BA. What other airline offers champagne in economy? That little taste of bubbles keeps me going back for more. Putting up with the legendary unique French service is a price worth paying. When I win the lottery and Etihad get the A380 to LAX, I’ll fly via Abu Dhabi. Residence of course.

  10. I too flew the A380 on AF from LAX to CDG last November. I enjoyed the spaciousness and wandering around on the upper deck.

    Scott – what did you think of the cabin noise level? From my observation, the A380 is the quietest plane I have ever flown in.

  11. If customers aren’t paying a premium for 19″ seats on the A380 or 9 abreast config. 777, vs the 17″ seats on the 787 and 777, I would say, premium economy width for free, not a bad deal, book it before they start charging for it.

  12. Scott said: «passager experience». Yes, absolutely !
    Again, like I said before, making the difference between an airline and another is the passenger experience. This is the cabin and the seat space . What we discuss and what we should discuss more often in the future is the airline business model called regular airlines like Delta, United, AA , AF, which BA should follow the example of “ROUGE” with Air Canada, an LCC affiliate: old cheap aircraft with maximum seating willing to pay a very low price for travel. These companies are sentenced to decrease the number of seats and to increase prices for superior comfort.The question is how long individuals they will agree to travel with so many people with a personal small space. This is already happening with individuals who turn to business aviation. How long we will have to wait to see a request of individuals appear willing to pay a few hundred dollars more for traveling in a class that will be called no more “economic” but “superior” ?

  13. Quality sells in an otherwise saturated market.

    Ten years ago we would likely never be discussing passenger experience. Now we are. So almost by definition, it matters.

  14. I think Boeing and airlines are partnering up to convince everyone 17 inch wide seats are OK. an easy alliance if you have no choice.

    I hope airlines will select the 787-10 instead of 787-9 to go 8 abreast in economy.

  15. Scott, welcome to the club we’re delighted you enjoyed the A380 & were won over by the experience.

    As you will be aware here in Europe there are constant appraisals from the travel industry that the A380 is the preferred long haul choice. Having flown the type almost thirty times on the Kangaroo route it’s often difficult to get a late booking, but fortunately the route & the middle & far east are served well by quality A380 operators.

    To a lesser extent my experience of flying the 787 which is a lovely compact aircraft but suffers from a much noisier cabin compared to the 380.

    As for the 747 and the 777 in any current guise their best avoided if a A380 is flying the same route as many regular flyers will testify to.

    • Two things: Do you have any real measurable evidence about the noise levels? What is the difference between the aircraft in decibels or SPLs? How much of the difference is even detectable to the human ear?

      Second, exactly how quiet do you need your aircraft to be? I just think using “suffers from” to compare the 787’s noise level is more than a bit hyperbolic.

      (Just so you know – I’ll fly on and enjoy both Boeing and Airbus widebodies.)

      • The aeronautical industry identifies the A380 as the yardstick for suppressed cabin noise. As yet I have no experience of the A350 cabin, but who am I to question Scott if he identifies the A350 as offering a quieter cabin than the A380

        As an experienced long haul flyer who tires of the monotonous twenty three hour flying experience the Kangaroo route, I am perhaps justified in saying that categorically the A380 is the only way to fly for a day to arrive in reasonable condition to enter a meeting.

        Quite why Boeings designers have failed almost unanimously to match Airbus superior cabin noise suppression remains a mystery to the industry & passengers.

        In the final analysis it’s about general wellbeing, disembarking the A380 after flying non stop for a day gives a vastly a more refreshed feeling than any other type, perhaps than the A350…..

        • So, in so many words, you have no real measurable evidence… 🙂

          • @Geo,

            How dare you try to insert facts and empirical data into this discussion! Don’t you know it’s all about “feels”!?!?

        • The 787 compares to the A380 on noise levels in the cabin in my experience.

          I have found depending on where your sat on the A380 and the B787 cabin noise is different as well.

          Rumours are on the 787 acoustic panels were taken out at the back but kept for the business traveller.

          Similarly on the the 380 I’ve found whether your top or bottom or in front of behind of the engines makes a difference to cabin noise.

          Overall the A380 feels quieter because there’s more space and less people banging around and the toilets on the 787 seem to be designed to be noisy from the clunky door to the mini explosion of a 1000 hair dryers that goes off when the toilet flushes.

          The air quality and lighting on the 787 felt superior to the A380 though.

  16. I like the 777 at 9 abreast but find it very noisy, also in front.

    I hope the internal widening of the 777X helps, somehow.

    • A larger outside surface area will produce more noise than a smaller fuselage, but I expect the larger fan will reduce the engine noise component. Maybe less noise from wing as that is totally new construction in composite.

    • Dear keesje,
      right the opposite will happen. A thick wall is what provides noise dampening against the outside. Also absorption of noise inside the barrel is much easier with a thick wall but the ceiling is more important to that.

      The Boeing engineers and will curse the management for this idea of “internal widening” while going mad about this problem.

      • Mayhaps Boeing Engineers curse Management for demanding solutions to (1) widening internally the trim-2-trim space for better transversal seating AND at the same time (2) reducing aerodynamic wuthering … my bet is that in turn Boeing Management curse Airbus for having planted with observers, analysts, Media and avgeeks the preposterous idea that those efforts have the slightest chance of success combined, fomenting endless savvy comments about how best to cope technically with these antagonistic challenges, the whole affair igniting then fuelling a creeping discomfort that something is not correct with Boeing aircraft …

        • One thin solution works with lead foil. Weight doesn’t matter because the 777X will weight tones above the A350.

          Well, I am more a sound or noise geek.

  17. What’s the flight crew cost for a 15 hr trip? I’ll guess it takes 15K. 777 over 300 passengers is $50, A380 over 500 is $30 per passenger.

    The future prospects for the A380 is comparing apples to apples CASM as close as possible, A380 to the CASM of a 9 abreast 777-9.

  18. There is little reason why Sea-Tac couldn’t be an international hub. It’s right in the correct spot to connect 300 million people to 3000 million people.

    But unbelievably, it doesn’t have a single flight operated by one of China’s big three, and Japan flights have almost disappeared. That looks like a failure to me.

  19. I was the one who tweeted (@hotaviationnews) about your not having flown the A380 yet and I’m glad you now have.

    The contrast between Qatar Airways A380 and Air France’ A380 goes to show that different airlines have different philosophies about air travel. The OEMs manufacture aircraft, but it’s left for the airlines to determine how these aircraft are used with respect to passengers experience.

    It’s obvious that the ME3 can provide a certain level of luxury and comfort which no American or European airlines can match. It’s not surprising that Qatar Airways won the Skytrax’ 2015 World’s Best Airline Award.

    As long as I have a choice of a wide body aircraft, P2P is better than connecting through a hub which can only add to the stress of air travel.

    Generally a great article Scott, but I thought there would have been a couple of photos of Air France’ A380 cabin for visual comparison.

    I’m patiently waiting for your in-flight impression of the Boeing 787, I hope it won’t be long.

    • @Mario No photos of Air France cabin because it was a regular passenger flight, not a media-access event. I choose to respect the privacy of passengers in such a circumstance. But believe me, there was nothing special about the AF business class, which is also the only part of the airplane I had access to, unlike the Qatar A380, on which we media types got a tour of the entire airplane.

  20. Today the first A330-200 for Eurowings will arrive at Hamburg airport.

    This aircraft will receive 21 Premium Economy seats with 2-3-2 seating and 289 Economy seats in 2-4-2 layout with 46 comfort seats with more leg space. No First or Business class. We will see how much passengers will pay for more space.

  21. Like you, Economy is my normal flight experience. I also prefer the 10-abreast A380 over anything else for Economy comfort but I also like the 8-abreast A330. I avoid 10-abreast 777s and 9 -abreast 787s like the Plague! Boeing customers who have been persuaded by the manufacturer that they can make more money by increasing passenger discomfort may come to rue the day. It will be harder to make a profit if load factors fall away as passengers move to other airlines.

  22. I expect innitiative from Chicago to redirect public opinion.

    Teach everyone the new high density cabins are sensible, logical, sustainable, have allways been there, are comfortable really, profitable, the way forward.

    Move on, nothing to see here.

  23. Now we just need Aboulafia to take an A380 so he can also cover the positive aspects of the plane.

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