back to article Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it

Airbus has flown a new version of its A320 jetliner that it hopes will take the twin-engine workhorse onto long-haul routes. The plane-maker already makes the A321, a stretch version of the A320 capable of seating over 200 passengers. Airlines like the A321’s combination of capacity, economy and commonality with other members …

  1. chrismevans

    The Golden Age of flying is over

    The budget airlines already do London <-> Tel Aviv in standard single aisle planes and it's not fun because they are the same planes kitted out to do 90 minute journeys. The personal space is non-existent, with so much crammed under seats you can't stretch out properly.

    I do wonder how much of this is the airlines trying to make a profit compared to the tax imposed by governments. Seems that every time the airlines get some wriggle room, the tax authorities steal that profit back with a higher APT.

    Personally, I simply wouldn't fly long haul on a single aisle plane. I'd rather not go and save my money for a better quality flight.

  2. Brenda McViking

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Have you been on a modern packed 777/787/A330/A350 long haul in the back with 10-across seating in 3-4-3? there is naff all room anyway!

    I see very little difference between that style twin versus a single aisler when it comes to passenger comfort, unless you're paying the 400%+ price premium over and above economy class for the bigger seats at the front.

    Though I completely agree about air-related taxes. Britain in particular has absolutely criminal margins - as can be seen by the fact that your average city airport has more security personnel doing theatrical performances than Tescos has shelf-stackers. Still, at least we don't have the TSA...

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Some of us who do long-haul for business don't always have the option to spend a bit more & get more comfort, we're constrained by "lowest logical airfare" rules :(

    That said, in cattle-class I really don't see much difference between 3+3 single-aisle, and 3-4-3 twin-aisle. Middle seats are still horrible, the rest are much the same. 2-4-2 is good, if you can get into one of the "twos". Upstairs on an A380 is OK for that reason, but then you have the 500-passenger immigration scrum on arrival.

    Legroom &seat comfort are the main issues for me. At most I might look for the loo once during a flight, queues there aren't really a problem except for the poor sods in the aisle seats beside them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Lowest airfare? Luxury!

    I know corps who operate a strict no business, no premium-economy rule. Even if the better class fair is demonstrably cheaper, you must book via the corporate travel agent who add 20% to the cost of a full-fare economy ticket. Go figure.

  5. AMBxx Silver badge
    Linux

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I've not flown for 10 years. Last international flight was 13 years ago. I think I'd have a very nasty shock if I were to see the changes in the last 10+ years. At 6'2", it was nasty back then (why do seats recline?), sounds far worse now.

    Penguin 'cos they don't fly either.

  6. LucreLout Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    why do seats recline?

    This ^^^^

    Every flight I've had to take in the last 12 months I've had some small man recline the seat for the entire flight. The problem, for me, is I barely fit in the leg room available before the seat goes back; it's actually painful as well as uncomfortable once the seat is reclined. I'd understand if the person in front was tall, but when they're short enough they couldn't meet the height restrictions at Disneyland, its even more annoying.

    Surely its time to regulate airline seats so that they slide forward, thus reducing the legroom of the person wanting to recline the seat?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Surely its time to regulate airline seats so that they slide forward, thus reducing the legroom of the person wanting to recline the seat?

    One thing that will absolutelty prevent me flying long-haul on an airline is if they don't permit my seat to recline. Sure, it makes it hard for someone behind to do their spreadsheets on their laptop, but that's why Business class exists. I can barely sleep on a plane anyway, there's no chance if I'm required to sit bolt upright for 11 hours. Seats recline for comfort, if everyone reclines their seats there's no issue, bar perhaps mealtimes when some common sense applies. I usually try to pick a seat at the back of a cabin, so there's no-one behind to dig their knees into my back, but I will recline my seat if there is a recline mechanism. And no, I'm not a midget, I'm 6' tall.

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I usually try to pick a seat at the back of a cabin, so there's no-one behind to dig their knees into my back, but I will recline my seat if there is a recline mechanism. And no, I'm not a midget, I'm 6' tall.

    You mean those seats that are against the rear bulkhead that often don't actually recline?

  9. stu 4

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    "One thing that will absolutelty prevent me flying long-haul on an airline is if they don't permit my seat to recline"

    hear hear.

    To me the wonder is why they just are not all set to a comfortable reclined level - then you have no issues with idiots trying to stop you reclining (but usually happy to recline themselves).

  10. d3vy Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    " as can be seen by the fact that your average city airport has more security personnel doing theatrical performances"

    I particularly enjoyed the Manchester airport security staff rendition of Hamlet and am very much looking forward to Cats being performed by the Heathrow metal detector operatives next month.

  11. d3vy Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    "I've not flown for 10 years. Last international flight was 13 years ago. I think I'd have a very nasty shock if I were to see the changes in the last 10+ years. At 6'2", it was nasty back then (why do seats recline?), sounds far worse now."

    I can only compare short haul but I dont think that they are that much different. With the exception that the likes of KLM and Ryanair imposing checked baggage charges that EVERYONE tries to get their entire luggage into the cabin with them as hand luggage now which means that if your not at the front of the queue for boarding youre sitting with your carry on bag between your knees for the whole trip.

    Flew to Amsterdam on KLM last year and was shocked at how little went in the hold VS how much was in the cabin - it cant possibly be safe to have every overhead locker stuffed full and every seat to have bags stuffed under them.

    That said, it did make collecting my checked in baggage much quicker as there were only 5-10 of us at the carousel!

  12. MyffyW Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    On a recent holiday I found myself speculating what would be the least stressful way of enduring modern aviation. In essence I think nude, catheterised and de-sensitised with just the right amount of diazepam to be able to shuffle meekly through endless queues without actually giving a shit about your time or dignity.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Unfortunately, what you will find is that these corporate travel agents arent looking at the price of a single seat, there are deals done so that upfront, the company pays the full fare along with service charges,etc.

    BUT, if you spend enough moulah with them (set out in the contract), then you get a % back (this includes hotel stays and other things booked via them) and also other things, such as access to special deals and often agency only deals for the execs that will give them really competitive pricing for 1st class and business.

    TBH, it often doesnt work out much cheaper, but it does give these extra perks, and cash back....(which always looks good).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    You must be a complete joy to sit behind......

    Have you ever tried to get out of a seat to go to the loo or even just stretch your legs with some f**kwit infront (sitting at the emergency exit/bulkhead seat with legroom so large you can actually lie down on the floor before hitting the bulkhead)who reclined the seat even before level flight and is absolutely going to remain fully back the entire 11 hour flight....yes, this happens and yes, its more and more common!

    Have some common courtesy man - just because you can and you believe its in your right to do so does NOT mean its the right thing to do....

    I will sometimes recline a little bit, but not fully back...Im not selfish ... and you shouldnt be too!

  15. Lotaresco Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    "Every flight I've had to take in the last 12 months I've had some small man recline the seat for the entire flight."

    Easily solved. I've mastered the technique of putting my knees into the seat back and pushing it upright and refusing to let the idiot in front recline it. They get the message fairly quickly.

  16. Lotaresco Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    " I will recline my seat"

    I will stop you. it's also surprising how often I drop my hot coffee at just the wrong moment.

  17. ahfakopsdfi

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Probably because some of us actually find the seats more comfortable when NOT reclined! (And yes, I can sleep sitting upright, thank you)

    I guess the compromise is reclining and non-reclining sections, then we can all be happy!

  18. Lysenko Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I can barely sleep on a plane anyway, there's no chance if I'm required to sit bolt upright for 11 hours.

    I don't mean to gloat (yes I do), but I've got an odd sort of travel narcolepsy. Car, train or plane unless I'm driving the thing or actively engaged in conversation, I'll be asleep within 20 minutes of it starting to move. Doesn't matter if I'm curled up like a bronze age kist burial either. I've never been able to understand people who have to remain awake unless it's silent, dark and they're at maximum linear extension like they've been mugged by an ancient Egyptian embalmer.

  19. TRT Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    There's some little wedges that you can buy that stops the seat in front reclining. The occupier just thinks the mechanism's broken or non-existent.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I would choose a Airbus 380 or a Boeing 747 over these claustrophobic long cans A350/B777/B787. And I can't imagine flying 10 hours in a narraw-body at all - except it's a old-school Aircraft like B757 made in the 1980s, with unchanged seats from 1980s - yeah back then the economy class seats where still quite comfortable.

    Especially the Airbus 380 has a heigh ceiling and big rest rooms. The B777 is the worst offender, with tiny rest rooms, low hanging ceiling and only one deck. It's the first aircraft completely designed on computer in 1995, and they clearly forgot about human beings are not chicken.

  21. Jonathan 27

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Yeah, it's not "spreadsheets on a laptop" that we're worried about here. I'm pretty tall, and if the person in front of me reclines their seat it will slam directly into my knees. There is no reason at all for economy seats to recline, it's a practice from back when there was actually space to do so. If I'm on a flight I now jam the recline mechanism of the seat in front of me (if I'm unable to get a bulkhead seat, as I attempt to immediately at booking time every time, but quite often they're booked up somehow, months and months in advance). The other option is to splay my legs into the lap of the people beside me, which is heaps of fun as you can imagine.

    But, I hear you say, why don't you book a more expensive seat? Well, quite often there is no option, or if there is it's only first class for 10x the price. But I will say, no economy seat should be reclining unless they're actually putting them far enough apart to accommodate the passengers behind. I'm not sawing my legs off to fit on a plane.

    P.S. 6' is not that tall, you're only slightly over average height.

  22. Rocketist
    Holmes

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    In the Golden Age of flying, you'd cross the Atlantic in a narrow-body airplane; say a Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 or (sigh) Vickers VC-10. All of which had narrower fuselages than the Airbus A320 does, and still had six seats in a row.

    HOWEVER, the seats in that golden age were spaced much further apart (up to ten inches more than today, except with "some" airlines) and the boarding procedures, cabin crew, and meals were all up to the standards expected by a 1960's air traveler. Then again, so were the fares.

    Might have posted this before, sorry in that case.

  23. Jonathan 27

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    The last short-haul flight I was on an Embraer 190, which is the sort of little jet that makes you wonder if you'll make it at all. I had a better time of it than on recent Boeing and Airbus jets because there was more legroom and only 2 seats on each side. I don't think the actual size of the plane matters as much as the seating layout.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    You mean those seats that are against the rear bulkhead that often don't actually recline?

    Obviously not, I make sure I choose ones that do.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Have some common courtesy man - just because you can and you believe its in your right to do so does NOT mean its the right thing to do....

    I will sometimes recline a little bit, but not fully back...Im not selfish ... and you shouldnt be too!

    I will always wait until the meal service is finished, and the flight has reached the "cruise & snooze" stage, and then yes I will fully recline the seat. If the seat is configured to recline, it is acceptable to recline it, and common courtesy to accept that the people around you will so recline. If you don't like it, find an airline with non-recline seats.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    " at least we don't have the TSA..." Yet

    I was shocked last time I crossed in to Canada. they wanted me to turn on all electronic devices so they could search them. They straight said they are looking for kiddie porn. Then they asked me if owned any guns(not had any on me) Then asked of I have a CCW do I normally carry a gun on me, do I travel with guns. This is when I'm in the US . yes cause every one knows Americans always have a gun on them at all times even when crossing into Canada .

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I've mastered the technique of putting my knees into the seat back and pushing it upright and refusing to let the idiot in front recline it. They get the message fairly quickly.

    So does the incivil bastard with his knees in my back, especially when the sharp end of my pen gets wedged against his kneecap. If you don't want it to sit behind a set that is designed to recline, then BUY A TICKET ON A PLANE WITH FIXED SEATS, ARSEHOLE.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I will stop you.

    No, I assure you you won't, should I have to call the crew to remove you.

    it's also surprising how often I drop my hot coffee at just the wrong moment.

    You must be a joy to fly with, one of those who takes over both armrests in the middle seat as well, I presume.

  29. LucreLout Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over - @TRT

    There's some little wedges that you can buy that stops the seat in front reclining. The occupier just thinks the mechanism's broken or non-existent.

    I'd assumed they were some massive horrible thing bolted to the arm rests. Google says not. They're small enough to go in a pocket and they don't fasten to the arm rests. Great, that's my knees saved from the transatlantic tyranny of small men!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    There's some little wedges that you can buy that stops the seat in front reclining.

    United have been known to throw people off flights when they use those and refuse to remove them on request by the crew.

  31. LucreLout Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    If the seat is configured to recline, it is acceptable to recline it, and common courtesy to accept that the people around you will so recline.

    Wrong! It is common courtesy not to recline your seat if it impacts upon the knees of the person behind. It is also a health hazard because the risks of DVT rise sharply when you can't move your legs. If you want to lie down to fly, then 1st class may be found towards the front of the plane.

    The leg room is configured to the minimum space an average(ish) person can squeeze into. They're entitled to that space - they paid for it.

  32. Lysenko Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    If the seat is configured to recline, it is acceptable to recline it, and common courtesy to accept that the people around you will so recline.

    No, it is common courtesy not to invade someone else's space without asking permission. Reclining seats on planes, just like the ones in cars, are designed for use when the seat behind you is empty.

  33. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Air. Bus. Hmm...

    might be self-descriptive. Soon, everyone will hang from straps in the overhead. Heh.

    Yeah flying stopped being fun a while ago. Dammit.

  34. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    They're entitled to that space - they paid for it.

    And isn't the person who paid for a reclining seat entitled to use that? It is why the airline installed them, after all.

  35. quartzie

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I beg to differ.

    If your airline is cheap enough to cram seats into non-reclining spacing, then it's a madness, but reclining seats are most certainly NOT designed to work only on half-full flights.

    I'm 6"2", and will look for extra leg room seats where available, but I will recline, especially on a 10-12 hour flight, since I want to be in working condition at my destination.

    In cramped short hauls, it's a matter of consideration, especially in local Asian island hoppers, but on long hauls and red-eyes I'll recline to keep sane. Fortunately, in my experience, these flights have generally been amenable to reclining.

  36. goimir

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Just like fat sods have to buy two seats to be comfortable, maybe you shouldn't sit where you don't fit. I've a bad back andit's hard for me to find a comfortable position where I won't be all crippled up at the end of the flight.

    Or you could make me sit bolt upright and wait thr extra 10 minutes for me to hobble off the plane in front of you.

  37. Barry Mahon

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I object in principle to paying for a seat except long haul. I buy aisle seats, one in the centre section, one on the side. So, in single aisle, that can be done also.

    The result is you have the possibility to get in and out easily, or at least more easily. Biggest bugbear with single aisle is food service, cannot even get to the loo.

    When will some smart ass offer food service row by row, at the front and/or back?

  38. SAdams

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I think they went through a bad phase but have improved over the past 2-3 years. I generally find that if I’m on a plane where the windows dimn rather than having a cover, the seat itself will be comfortable and the screen will not be so low definition that you only get a vague idea of whats happening. Also you can charge your phone.

    Of course if you’re flying BA, even on a new plane you will still have shit all over your tray, tissues in the seat pockets etc..,

  39. Holtsmark

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    So you were the /%$/&&(/ that without warning rammed your seat into my knees and kept it there for 8 hours straight?

    I am tall and mainly legs -this was not my choise. I barely fit into exonomy -but I often do not have a choice. However, once you ram your seat back, I WILL be in pain. And reclining my own seat does not help. Therefore: Please check behind you before insisting on your "rights". You might even consider skipping being an inconsiderate $§"$% once or twice.

  40. MrZoolook

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I was shocked when I came back (to Britain) from America on a 2 leg journey, with my changeover at Boston.

    Somehow, the US's 5 hour security checking (or queuing) system, which I went through twice on this journey) failed to spot the pressurised can of Axe deodorant I inadvertently packed in my carry on luggage.

  41. MrZoolook

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    "I object in principle to paying for a seat except long haul."

    So, you expect short haul seating for free?

  42. balrog

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    I am a short man. I also dont have a leg below my right knee and two replaced hips. 11 hours sat bolt upright is agony, so reclined I go. Off course if somebody doesnt want to let me recline I am the only person on board with a 12 inch long blunt instrument.......

  43. HighTension

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Love the Saab 2000s from London City to the Isle of Man. Especially the emergency exit seats - one reason to wake up early the day before to book them...

    I've twice had two breakfasts on the way out on that trip - very quiet for a turboprop.

  44. Lotaresco Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    "Have you ever tried to get out of a seat to go to the loo or even just stretch your legs with some f**kwit in front (sitting at the emergency exit/bulkhead seat with legroom so large you can actually lie down on the floor before hitting the bulkhead)who reclined the seat even before level flight and is absolutely going to remain fully back the entire 11 hour flight."

    The recliner

  45. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    You'd also have to put up with the constant fog of cigarette smoke for the duration of the flight. Those old 1960s posters for BOAC and the like look lovely, but those planes must have stank.

  46. WereWoof

    Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

    Upvoted for VC10, Loved flying in them to The Bahamas.

  47. Banksy

    Size matters

    Presumably a place of that size can be serviced at a range of airports too, not just the larger ones.

  48. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Re: Size matters

    That was my first thought too. Gives airlines the ability to do long haul from third tier airports, which I'd guess is attractive to long haul tour operators, or airlines thinking that a daily flight to the US from regional airports that either don't have runways long enough for wide-body, or have the runways but not the facilities.

    Doncaster airport to NY, anyone?

  49. Named coward

    Re: Size matters

    International flights require "international" airports due to customs and immigration facilities and personnel

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Size matters

    Correct. The article stated "...plus the seating capacity to make it worth using an expensive landing slot at a big airport."

    Part of the motivation is actually the opposite. They're able to operate this far cheaper plane from far cheaper airports. You'll be doing Stansted to Newark in a no-frills plastic seat before you know it.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018