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.

    1. 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...

      1. 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.

      2. 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 .

        1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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?

            1. 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.

              1. 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?

                1. 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.

              2. 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).

                1. 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!

              3. 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!

                1. 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.

                  1. 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.

                    1. 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.

                    2. 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.......

                  2. Lysenko

                    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.

                    1. 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.

                2. Lotaresco

                  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

              4. Lotaresco

                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.

                1. 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.

              5. Lysenko

                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.

                1. 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.

                  1. 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!

                  2. 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.

              6. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

                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.

              7. 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.

            2. Lotaresco

              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.

              1. 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.

            3. 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.

          2. 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!

        2. 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).

      2. 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?

        1. 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?

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. 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..,

    5. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. WereWoof

        Re: The Golden Age of flying is over

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

    6. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      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.

      1. 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.

    7. 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.

  2. Banksy

    Size matters

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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?

      1. Ol' Grumpy
        Thumb Up

        Re: Size matters

        "Doncaster airport to NY, anyone?"

        Is the Vulcan still based at Doncaster? I'd rather fly in that - safety cert or not! :P

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: Size matters

          In the Vulcan you'd be travelling backwards.

          In the dark.

          And your seat doesn't recline. (though it might rotate)

          Bring your own cushion if you're not sitting on a parachute.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Size matters

          Sadly not. It was put into storage towards the end of last year. Because of budget cuts they couldn't afford to keep it on display. It's still in the area though, and I imagine it'll make appearances at the occasional air show on special occasions...

    2. Named coward

      Re: Size matters

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

    3. 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.

      1. Soruk
        Stop

        Re: Size matters

        > You'll be doing Stansted to Newark in a no-frills plastic seat before you know it.

        For some reason that is giving me the mental image of the airline equivalent of a Pacer. (For those not unfortunate enough to have experienced them, those were those cheap railway carriages based on the body of a Leyland bus.)

        1. TheBodger

          Re: Size matters

          "Were"? Where I live the blasted things are still clattering around today...

          While the ride is rather 'bouncy' to put it mildly, at least they have opening windows so you don't cook in summer. (They don't have air-con, but opening windows don't stop working when the driver cuts the engine to save money while waiting for 30 minutes at a signal!)

    4. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Size matters

      WAYY!

      Balfour can re-open Blackpool airport and offer cheap flights to the US!

      * Blackpool airport is basically a runway with two sheds next to it labelled "Departures" and "Arrivals", The morrisons supermarket next door has more floor space and the car park is bigger than the run way!

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

    No thanks, I am not keen to commit suicide by DVT.

    If the flight is longer than 5h I and it is not (at least) premium economy I am not flying. Simple reason - If it is more I pay. Or to be more exact my back pays so the trip becomes a waste of time and money. Instead of doing what I came for I spend half of it tending to my back. I am not alone in this either.

    In any case, the lyrical musings about Charles De Gaulle to JFK are misplaced. This aircraft has a different use case. It has HAJJ written all over it. To Mecca and back (and who cares that you die a few days later from DVT).

    1. J J Carter Silver badge

      Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

      Al'lah has willed it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

      It has HAJJ written all over it.

      Nope. TC-HAJJ will an A380 in full economy configuration, flying from Manchester or Dusseldorf via Istanbul.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

        Nope. TC-HAJJ will an A380 in full economy configuration

        A380 in Luton or Leeds?

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

          A380 in Luton or Leeds

          Well, Emirates operates A380's out of Gatwick with the same runway length that early 747's had problems with due to lack of oommpphh from the engines. One Pilot that I knew at the time hated it if they had to take off to the NE as it was rare that they could get a bit of speed up before they got onto the runway. In that case they'd rev the engines up really high and hope that the brakes held.

          modern Jets don't have that problem.

          As for the A321, I've travelled back and forth to Jordan many times on on (Brit Midland and then BA) and found them ok but with BA adding another row to Cattle Class I'm glad that I don't travel much these days and when I do, it is at the front of the plane. I have to use those AirMiles up somehow...

          1. Russell Chapman Esq.

            Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

            Turkish Airlines, Vienna to Amman with an 11 hour wait in Istanbul for the connecting flight, get out of the airport, go see the city. Worse is flying MEA from Lebanon to Amman, getting out of seat to use the loo while in Israeli airspace is a huge no no, absolutely verboten.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

              Well Israeli airspace is so small that it will inconvenience you for a mere 60 seconds. I’ve flown MEA between Beirut and Europe a few times and found them to be decent and safe. Flight crew and Engineers typically trained in UK or France.

        2. Steve Todd

          Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

          Neither Luton nor Leeds have the infrastructure to handle an A380. There are only something like 13 airports in the UK rated for it, Manchester being one. Stanstead and Birmingham are on the list though.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: 9h with ScumBag Air seat spacing

            The thing with Hajj air is all are equal before Allah, so you're ALL going cattle camel class.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I hate the nickel-and-diming

    On our last vacation trip, we toured the US West coast, hopping 5 times to 5 different states. We were happy and tired at the end, but the flights were just nagging money all the time.

    What's the use of boasting the lowest plane ticket cost if everything else is an added cost ?

    I'm going to avoid flying in the future, but if I do, I swear I'll take a 1st class ticket just for my peace of mind.

    1. Fazal Majid

      Re: I hate the nickel-and-diming

      The reason why they do that is the extras are not shown on comparison pricing sites like Orbitz or Kayak. Deceptive as hell, but when the FAA tried to mandate full transparency, they were forced to back down by the airline lobby.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: I hate the nickel-and-diming

      " but if I do, I swear I'll take a 1st class "

      Have you compared prices yet?

  5. Milton Silver badge

    How bad does it have to get?

    How bad does it have to get before people simply decide not to fly? Even the A380 - arguably the least unpleasant aircraft in which to fly Economy long haul - is getting an extra seat across in some variants, and will become as nasty as other planes.

    Presumably at some point travellers look at more than headline ticket price, and begin to shun the worst airlines ... But the race to the bottom has been in full swing for 20 years with no end in sight. Even Virgin, which used to be a nice exception, is now degenerating into budget standards and no longer worth booking specially for a long haul flight.

    I for one am glad I no longer need to fly much. And the appalling quality of modern airlines is becoming a good incentive to holiday in Britain and Europe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How bad does it have to get?

      Ryanair and Vueling seem to be proving there is no "bottom" in their race to lower standards. Given the sheer stress and unpleasantness of flying even before you get in the crammed in a smelly tin tube, it seems people really don't care what the tin tube experience is like. You may have seen coverage of Ryanair fabled "standing up" concept - I think we can be sure that if they are legally allowed to do that, they will, and worse still, people will pay for the privilege, and then Ryanair will ask themselves how they can make that worse.

      Funny how many people will pay around a grand for a mobile phone, but then will fly with the cheapest crappest airline that Google can find them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        "Ryanair and Vueling seem to be proving there is no "bottom" in their race to lower standards."

        So far as I'm concerned, Ryanair hit bottom a long time ago, although lot of people seem to disagree with me and keep buying tickets with them though. I quite like flying Easyjet, because the cabin staff are usually friendly and helpful, and I'm happy to sit and read a book during the inevitable delays.

        British Airways are now charging for snacks and drinks on shorthaul, and as far as I can tell, no longer offer anything that Easyjet don't, except occaisionally BA can be cheaper than easyjet...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        >Funny how many people will pay around a grand for a mobile phone, but then will fly with the cheapest crappest airline that Google can find them.

        I often wonder that. People pay a fortune for their phones, have super-big TVs that they replace every other year, expensive pay-monthly cars that they never own yet are willing to sit in pain for 7+ hours.

        Short-haul's another thing - I'm flying Ryan Air later this week. It'll be shit, but it's only an hour. For long haul, I stump up for a seat that goes flat, so I'm not wasting the first two days of my holiday trying to get over a lack of sleep.

        Different people have different priorities I guess.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "It'll be shit, but it's only an hour."

          I had to fly Ryanair for the first time since my company has a site in some god-forgotten piece of land where only Ryanair of course dares to fly (because of the local council subsides with taxpayers money, of course).

          They make a 45 min fly (plus the 1 or more hours to reach the starting airport, of course, instead of the bigger, closer one) a nightmare, with the poor crew begging you to buy instant lottery tickets or they get in troubles.... and of course the flight leaves late in the night...

      3. Valerion

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        Funny how many people will pay around a grand for a mobile phone, but then will fly with the cheapest crappest airline that Google can find them.

        When I buy a phone, I expect it to last at least 2 years and be bloody good at everything it does.

        When I fly to, say, Florida on holiday, it's an 8 hour flight and then I'm off the plane and it's forgotten. It simply isn't always worth paying loads more money just to get there a bit more comfortably. Usually, I'll just suck it up and complain a bit.

        Had a horrid flight with Air Transat back from Montreal (would have been ok if they'd not given the extra legroom seats that I paid for to someone else). But at the end of the day it was bloody cheap so I could put up with the discomfort for a few hours.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How bad does it have to get?

          >When I fly to, say, Florida on holiday, it's an 8 hour flight and then I'm off the plane and it's forgotten.

          Ah, but that's Westbound, and on a daytime flight. If you're flying the other way, you're awake all night unless you are one of the lucky ones who can sleep sitting up without ever having the need to move.

          If you take your holiday in, say, Thailand, and you've chosen the cheap seats, having been awake for over a day then spending the first two days of your precious holiday feeling like shit, the extra dosh for the better seats seems more worth it.

          This is how I started using business class. My wife and I had booked economy to Bangkok, and got a free upgrade. Waking up after an 8-hour sleep feeling refreshed and being able to do a full day of sightseeing was a revelation. OK, so the bastards got me hooked, but I weigh up all of the factors each time I book. Shorter long-haul flights are less worth it e.g. to the Middle East or from JFK/Boston to Europe as you're only going to get 5 hours sleep tops.

          >It simply isn't always worth paying loads more money just to get there a bit more comfortably

          Agreed. It's all about how much extra you pay i.e. what deal you can get. If business class is £500 extra for a long-haul it's probably worth it. If it's £2K extra it's most likely not.

          If you're paying extra to get a slightly better economy seat then it's probably not money worth paying. You still won't sleep.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How bad does it have to get?

          But at the end of the day it was bloody cheap so I could put up with the discomfort for a few hours.

          Sounds pretty comfy compared to some Air Transat experiences...

      4. Russell Chapman Esq.

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        Never flown with Vueling but I do fly home with RyanAir about 3 times a year. Two and half hour flight, view it like a bus service, take your own snack/lunch on board, lots of people do it. Also, leave your online check-in as late as possible, that way you will be allocated a decent seat. I never pay to reserve a seat. Admittedly it is easier when you fly solo.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: How bad does it have to get?

      Presumably at some point travellers look at more than headline ticket price, and begin to shun the worst airlines

      It would be nice to think so, but I doubt it. For a European traveller heading long-haul for 1-2 weeks away the extra cost might not add much to the overall holiday, but for Americans who think of vacation in terms of days, a transatlantic flight for $500 instead of $1000 makes a long weekend in London possible. The choice isn't between "bus service" or "limo", it's between vacation or not.

      Does anyone have any figures on how much long-haul economy travel is personal, versus business (company-paid)? In the latter case, as I noted before, we often have little choice. I might be able to justify $100 more to avoid three connections or a 3am start, but they won't pay the 50% surcharge even for premium economy, although I may be willing to pay it myself for a holiday flight,

    3. Fazal Majid

      Re: How bad does it have to get?

      The problem is Delta bought Virgin, or most of it, and they are aligning VA to their legendary standards of disservice.

      1. jimbo36

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        Delta only have a 49% share in Virgin, but have had that from almost Day 1.

        Virgin have just sold over 30% of its stake to Air France-KLM though, giving Delta the controlling majority.

    4. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: How bad does it have to get?

      How bad does it have to get before people simply decide not to fly?

      We don't all fly by choice.

      I mostly fly to visit the inlaws - Ryanair are least inconvenient flight destination airports with the lowest total travel time.

      Almost all other flights are for work, which mandates that I go, and on the lowest logical fare - usually VA, which makes Ryanair's legroom seem positively spacious.

      I dislike flying, but with some simple tweaks it could me made only as loathsome as the train. Come retirement, I intend to avoid the use of either as much as humanly possible.

      1. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: How bad does it have to get?

        The train isn't loathesome. I love it. It can be so entertaining.

        Wherever possible i target the seat where some "business person" has seen fit take up the adjoining seat with their baggage and also take up the entire table with their "work". I lay out the free paper on "my" share of the table. Just for show of course.

        Hell, i even love joining in with the phone conversations.

        Tbf, and i do fly some 6-8 times a year, the few hours spent in the cramped seats in a tin tube are a restful period when compared to the hours and stresses at either end of the flight.

  6. Blotto Bronze badge

    We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

    We need a new brave airline that is willing to charge a little more for more comfort in cattle class.

    i did 5 hours in an easyjet a320 and it was just about bearable, cramped in the middle seat with my 6ft4 frame. There is absolutely no way i'd do any more than that, certainly not transatlantic.

    we can't all sit in exit row seats etc, but i would pay a reasonable amount more for more general leg room and comfort on flights, and no premium economy or business isn't always the answer, i'd like a budget seat with more room than the current crop of budget seats that isn't premium.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

      i'd like a budget seat with more room than the current crop of budget seats that isn't premium.

      It is on United. Pay premium economy transatlantic and all you get is 5" more legroom. Fly the unfriendly skies...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

        all you get is 5" more legroom

        Not to mention the complimentary beating.

    2. Ellipsis

      Re: We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

      That sounds like a setup for the “how to make a small fortune in aviation” gag…

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

      Naaah... they're replicating cattle class on high-speed train also. When they were introduced here, there was a single class. Now there are four, one more than when traveling "third class" meant you were cattle.

      You get uncomfortable, slippery fake leather seats, sometimes even placed between two windows. And my company insists in getting only the cheapest class for any travel below five hours (but executive, of course). The Ryanair model works. People will accept everything to spend less on travels.

    4. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: We need a brave airline willing to charge a little more

      6'4" Blotto offered, "...did 5 hours ...certainly not transatlantic."

      Halifax (on the right-hand coast of Canada) to Dublin is obviously transatlantic and only about 4.5 hours. Reverse leg Dublin-Halifax is about 5 hours, due to the prevailing winds. So you CAN do transatlantic (and limited to 5 hours) if you choose the right routing.

      The real trick with such flights from Canada to Ireland is to not crash into a bog.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/Alcock-Brown-Clifden.jpg/640px-Alcock-Brown-Clifden.jpg

      Ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_flight_of_Alcock_and_Brown

  7. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    In other news

    Bombardier won that case against Boeing.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/01/29/bombardier-just-bested-boeing-in-a-trade-dispute-between-u-s-and-canada-heres-what-you-need-to-know/?utm_term=.2cb67304b6dc

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

    The A321LR is basically being touted as a *replacement* for the Boeing 757 on transatlantic routes.

    Until recently American Airlines was running daily flights in the winter from Manchester to JFK and Chicago using the 757 - my first ever trip to the states was to ORD on a 757. I'm pretty sure that United are still flying Manchester to Newark with the 757 daily. But with the 757 fleet aging, there's been no viable replacement until now.

    As for comfort, it's a trade-off between being able to go direct to places that can't sustain or (physically) support larger aircraft (rather than multiple connections), and having to dodge around the service trolleys to get to the toilets. For an overnight leg, I find single aisle no worse than twin aisle, with the caveat that lighter planes tend to be more susceptible to turbulence - the last time I flew back from JFK on a 757, I didn't get a wink of sleep, but the 130mph (bumpy) tailwind meant we landed at 5am instead of 7am anyway, so I was able to get some kip in a real bed instead.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

      "The A321LR is basically being touted as a *replacement* for the Boeing 757 on transatlantic routes.

      Until recently American Airlines was running daily flights in the winter from Manchester to JFK and Chicago using the 757 - my first ever trip to the states was to ORD on a 757. I'm pretty sure that United are still flying Manchester to Newark with the 757 daily. But with the 757 fleet aging, there's been no viable replacement until now."

      I'm utterly surprised that the first mention of the 757 occured right at the bottom of the comments page. I really did think it would've appeared on the article, as this is really the crux of the matter. Airlines are using the 757 for long haul flights as it's fairly cheap and allows them to run to near full capacity on those routes. The 757 though was a failure initially, so production was stopped and Boeing didn't bother with a replacement. Now, though, the 757 has found a market Boeing don't have a replacement for it, hence Airbus are trying to get in there first with this new plane.

      The thing is though, regarding other comments about single aisle planes and long haul flights, if you're willing to pay £150 to fly from Birmingham to Toronto (as an example) you can't really expect to fly it using a 747 or 777. It's cheap for a reason.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

        "The thing is though, regarding other comments about single aisle planes and long haul flights, if you're willing to pay £150 to fly from Birmingham to Toronto (as an example) you can't really expect to fly it using a 747 or 777. It's cheap for a reason."

        Is that an actual price? Because thats less than the price for me to get a train to London! The added bonus of course is that at the end of the trip I wouldnt be in London! :)

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

          "Is that an actual price? Because thats less than the price for me to get a train to London! The added bonus of course is that at the end of the trip I wouldnt be in London! :)"

          Yes, well it's "from £149" one way to Toronto from Birmingham with the airline PrimerAir. I think they use either the 737-700 or 737-800 for that route.

          1. Philippe

            Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

            7 hours in a 737-7 ?

            I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. But who can complain about £149 ?

            Phil

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

          "Because thats less than the price for me to get a train to London!"

          Thanks in no small part to airlines not paying tax on fuel...

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

            "Thanks in no small part to airlines not paying tax on fuel..."

            I'd be interested to know how much of the train ticket price is tax on the fuel?

            I just checked Preston to London Departing tomorrow to get me in for 8.30am is £175

            If I book NOW for april I can travel first class for £50

            I cant fathom why trains operate their pricing this way round, I'd go on more spur of the moment trips and use the trains more often if the fairs were lower closer to the departure, the only trips that I know about enough in advance to make a saving are

            * holidays (infrequent)

            * work (paid for by the business)

            Anyway, this articles about flying lets not derail it talking too much about trains. ;)

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Single aisle transatlantic is not news...

      You're right. The Concorde was single-aisle, IIRC....

  9. Graham Triggs

    More comfortable surrounds?

    I've been on small MD-80s that offer lots of space, and huge 747s with absolutely none.

    I've no idea where the suggestion that "twin aisle" planes are more comfortable - it all depends on how the plane has been fitted out.

    But a 320 presents some challenges - smaller planes are more susceptible to turbulence. The longer the flight, the more catering you'll need. Cabin crew will need to take breaks. All of that will take out more seats, and fewer passengers put the fares up.

    1. DRue2514

      Re: More comfortable surrounds?

      Indeed. Last year I flew on an A320 with a middle eastern airline and the seats, entertainment etc were exactly the same as on their twin aisle jet. The plane even had proper business class seats. Not like the European ones with business class seats that are the same as economy and they just don't fill the middle seat.

  10. devcognito

    Air travel is unpleasant - why pay more?

    There is nothing pleasant about air travel - from driving early to the airport, parking, queuing, being ripped off for food, being intimidated by security staff etc. etc.

    It must be endured to reach a destination. It is time you will never get back. Why waste more money on it than is absolutely necessary?

    1. Solviva

      Re: Air travel is unpleasant - why pay more?

      Live near an airport with a reasonable public transport offering. Don't partake of the rip-off food, take an empty bottle to fill up after security. Or get some status and enjoy the lounges.

      Flying can still be quite enjoyable if you do it right, and do it on the right airline :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Air travel is unpleasant - why pay more?

        Yep, I hate air travel but if I have to do it I'll either make it as short as possible or as comfortable as possible. Which means maintaining a reasonable level of status, choosing the right airline for the route, and picking the fancy seats where appropriate.

        However, as my first kid is hitting school age I fear a lot of this may change.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Air travel is unpleasant - why pay more?

      "There is nothing pleasant about air travel - from driving early to the airport, parking, queuing, being ripped off for food, being intimidated by security staff etc. etc."

      See what we do is :

      * Book flights later in the day when they are available.

      * Use public transport/lifts or taxis to get to the airport.

      * Use the money saved on parking to pay for use of the lounges and priority security queue.

      * Online check in (Though if you have hold baggage this saves you no time)

      We don't fly often maybe once or twice a year mostly UK -> Europe but Ive never really experienced any of the issues that you say you have, Ive certainly not felt intimidated by security - even when I say my bag getting pulled off the belt after the xray and me being called over for it to be emptied, at no point did I thinik "Oh god Im in for it now" it was more a "FFS what have I left in there?!" (It was a google nexus 7 tablet that I forgot that I had packed if you're interested).

      :)

      I agree with your sentiment about not spending more than is necessary, however what I consider to be necessary and what you consider might be very different!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money

    http://www.airline-empires.com/index.php?/gallery/image/17686-oceanic-a321lr-with-seat-map/

    So the link above shows a seat map.

    the seats I normally sit in on other aircraft (above wing, before wing) are now Economy Plus (with a price premium).

    The economy seats also get the added benefit of being behind the wing and engines and therefore the vibration and turbulence from the engines.

    At least with other aircraft, you had the chance of a quiet (ish) flight in Economy...

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Money

      And I can't help but think that if you scrapped business class, shoved everything together, and evened out the legroom to something sensible, you could get MORE passengers on the same plane.

      Sure, they wouldn't be paying a thousand pound for a fancy seat, but maybe more people would WANT to fly in them, and the businessmen wouldn't be too upset about having only decent-legroom rather than their own personal box.

      P.S. I judge any company that flies their staff business class. If I were an airline, I'd make all my staff fly economy. But then, my economy would be adequate rather than prescribed torture barely above legal limits. Eat your own dog-food.

      1. Jonathon Desmond

        Re: Money

        I remember reading in an article on them a while ago that most BA flights are priced for and target one of two goals:

        1) To completely fill first class

        or

        2) To completely fill business class

        - either of these, by themselves, pay for the flight and costs. Everything else (i.e.: The cattle fares and the other 'up front' cabin) is cream.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money

        Very naive. The punters will not pay that bit more for a bit more space, they’ll go for the cheaper flight and then whinge about the lack of space. However you cut it, more space means higher fares. However you cut it #2, airlines will do whatever the regulators allow them to do, so getting DVT is government-approved, sadly.

  12. unwarranted triumphalism

    Good idea

    I'm going to take more flights to teach those enviro-nutters a lesson.

  13. anothercynic Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Nothing new to see here, move along now, move along...

    Given that Icelandair, Aer Lingus and Air Astana run the Boeing 757 (the narrow-body sister of the 767) intercontinentally with great success, I don't see why the A321LR will be something to be horrified by. Since the A321LR will have the new Airbus cabin designs, it will more likely be a nicer experience than any 757.

    Thomson and Jet2 also use them, so if you think the A321LR is going to be bad, don't fly them either.

    *inserts huge eyeroll icon here*

    1. Craigie

      Re: Nothing new to see here, move along now, move along...

      'great success' - have you been on one? The most uncomfortable flight of my life was on a transatlantic Aer Lingus 757. Never again, and I'm not even tall!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Lee D Silver badge

    Gave up flying several years back.

    Sorry, but I'd honestly rather have a silent trip (if we can scrap the safety announcement or make it so that people who WANT it can plug in headphones to hear it and the rest of us can just ignore the silent hand-waving in front of us, I'd be even happier), some legroom (suggesting that you have ANY legroom nowadays is really just being a liar), not be sold-at for hours on end, and be slightly further from the sniffing, scratching, yelling, etc. of other passengers. Absent that, I just won't fly. To be honest, the extra cost of a couple of tanks of fuel in a modern car and a cheap ferry / Eurotunnel crossing (where you can get out and walk around, even) is almost lost in the noise of the extra comfort. (Hey, I gave up on the US years ago, I certainly don't care that I wouldn't be able to get there).

    Question: Why does my car have more legroom than a plane? And more storage? And better seats? And better entertainment options? And better comfort options (heaters, fans, A/C, etc.)? And a nicer seating angle / reclining capability? And a better view? And better cup-holding etc. facilities? And nicer belts (I know, I know, that one has an answer, but stlll)? And such things are all static items that could, in theory, be fitted to a plane and the cost amortized over thousands of flights, I don't imagine they are any heavier than an airplane seat. Seriously... a proper tray that doesn't rely on the guy in front not bouncing around would be nice (not that you even get a meal nowadays either). An armrest you can put an arm on. A pocket for rubbish. Seat controls to adjust. Places to plug things in to charge, etc. Even my rear passenger seats offer all that, and you could make them into a long row just the same as on any plane. Three car passenger seats probably aren't even the same width as three plane seats. They certainly don't go as high. And I could easily put a bag in the footwell better than I can in a plane.

    Given that you can stop a car at any point, open the windows, travel for just as long as on a plane (hell, I've done 9 hours straight to Scotland before now), and they do SO MUCH BETTER a job at attending to my comfort, I can't see why a plane couldn't... it's literally just penny-pinching. Charge everyone a fiver more for those hundreds of passengers flying thousands of flights every year and put in some decent seats.

    I can't bring myself to use them any more. On top of things like the stupid queues, security processes, time expectations (it's literally lose-a-day to get to Spain, it's not much more to drive!), preparations, baggage restrictions, flight timings, travel to the airport, car parking, etc. I just don't see that they are any use to me any more.

    But whenever I jump in my car and go off on holiday, wherever around Britain or abroad, I "feel" on holiday the second I start, I can stop off anywhere I like whenever I like, I can change plans on a whim, come back with a whole boot full of presents, etc. etc. and take four people along with me (which drastically cuts the cost to less-than-a-plane - four tanks of fuel is a LOT of travelling). Priority boarding? We know that as "calling shotgun". We can chat. We can play games. We can watch movies. We can fall asleep (well, most of us can). And we can pull into that little sleepy French village that's got a fair on today.

    Airlines have worked tirelessly to screw me over as much as humanly possible, to the point that I actually believe the allocated legroom and "you can't leave the flight because we're delayed so you're locked in a tin box for the next three hours on the ground" should be illegal. I can't see why I'd reward them with even a pittance of money, or the air travel taxes, or airport purchases just so they can do that to me. Going on holiday is no longer exciting if it involves air travel, especially if I have a child in tow. I can't think why I'd subject myself to it again.

    It never used to be like that.

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Have many upvotes for this, especially: "I "feel" on holiday the second I start" "

      Overland (and sea) is travelling, whereas flying is transit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well other than the obvious fact that driving is only feasible for places that are reasonably close, it's generally a trade-off. My father-in-law lives in Western France. I can take a plane from Gatwick which is a short flight and the whole journey, including getting to the airport, queueing, checking in and the rest of it, takes about 4 hours. Driving involves getting to either Dover or Portsmouth, A channel crossing, then a long drive. I live in West London for context.

        For a weekend, it's a no-brainer: take the plane. I can take a half day on Friday and be there for dinner in the evening. Coming home involves going to the airport late afternoon after a big lunch. Driving means two whole days of travel.

        I always try to convince the wife that we should drive, because unlike the South of England, driving in Northern France is actually quite pleasant. But aside from the time it takes, it costs 3-4 times as much once you add together ferries/tunnel, fuel, tolls and inevitably expensive and less than pleasant roadside food.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I have had journeys where it would take 2 hours + to get to Gatwick... not from anywhere, just between the motorway and the airport.

          I have had journeys where it takes 2 hours to GET to security / passport control. Not THROUGH it. Just to it (e.g. when landing at Stansted coming back from ANY country). Park in the long-stay and you can add another plane ticket / taxi ride to the price. Oh, and that can take 45 minutes to get you from your car to the airport or vice versa on a bus that fires everyone's luggage at you at regular intervals.

          I have had journeys where I sat on the tarmac for several hours without explanation. I've boarded several hours late. I've had luggage that didn't arrive for an hour or more after I was standing at the collection point.

          I literally wouldn't chance a flight any more if I only had an ordinary weekend to do it in. I also live in West London, for reference. Though it's possible to do, I could quite easily lose the entire weekend and achieve nothing just as easily. At least if I drive, there's a good chance I can just turn off and go home / do something productive if something goes wrong (and I get a LOT of pre-warning of that, generally).

          Cost? Yes, it costs more. But the flexibility that comes with that is enormous. Roadside food? Who needs that? I don't have to sneak a entire tureen of soup past airport security, so it barely matters, I can load the car up with food for the journey down, and then French cheese for the way back. Pull into a village, park up, go to a proper cafe not a motorway service station (one of my concerns with flying - airport food or no food). Ferries/tunnels equate to flight costs. Tolls, yes, but it's not prohibitive - just avoid motorway if you're that worried (been there, done that). Fuel is the concern, but like I say, you can easily cost that out against feeling like a caged hen for 4 hours+. My work time costs more than a tank of fuel for 4 hours, my pleasure time sure as hell is worth more.

        2. Richard Crossley
          Go

          Driving versus flying

          My folks decided they wanted a "cheap" holiday and started looking at places that Easyjet flew to. Porto was selected as the destination. I decided to drive instead, having bought a large comfortable car with a big boot (trunk for our North American chums). I collected their luggage the weekend before and pon the appointed day took the Channel Tunnel and drove through France and Spain with overnight stops in Narbonne and Bilbao and arrived at our hotel in time to check-in and then meet them at the airport.

          They had to cadge a lift from South Wales to Standstead, Dad bought more luggage, which he needed to pay for and had a suitably "wonderful" experience the whole trip. On balance my journey cost a lot more, but my holiday started when I turned the key, their holiday started some time after they arrived.

          Since we had a car available we able to tour the Douro Valley and purchase some of its wonderful produce.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      When we had a caravan

      It felt like this.

      Hitch up and as soon as we had left our town we were on holiday.

      Route planning came down to who sold LPG (M5 Gordano was cheap).

      Stop where we want.

      Need the toilet? We were towing one!

      Did absolute wonders to my stress level. Even towing was not hard work, keeping my speed down was the hardest job.

      Our first post caravan holiday was not as relaxed, strange bed, toilet, and my wife moaned about 3 figure cruising speeds. (That car was quick. RIP)

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Rob Daglish

      Lee, I couldn't agree more. Our nearest airports are 2-3 hours away if we want to be able to get anywhere, so by the time we drive there as there's no public transport here, park, get to the airport, get checked in and go through security theatre, we'd be most of the way to a ferry... It's much easier and more pleasant for all concerned for us to take that ferry (we've done Southampton - San Malo lately), get a good nights sleep, a decent meal, nice breakfast, and an hour or so drive to somewhere nice on the other side, and we arrive not stressed out and ready to enjoy ourselves.

      I'm planning to take the kids on a plane so they can say they've done it, but I really can't see us doing it on a regular basis again.

  15. 45RPM Silver badge
    Joke

    Of course, Concorde only had a single aisle - and people plonked down money hand over fist to travel in its cramped and uncomfortable cabin. You could argue that it was an Airbus too. So, perhaps, if they can make the food a little nicer and the plane a smidge faster then it will be similarly popular and glamorous.

    How hard can it be?

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      When I travelled on Concorde it reallly did not feel cramped and uncomfortable. There was no headroom when standing (I'm 5'8") but lots of legroom, and you were only on the aircraft for ~3.5hrs.

  16. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Doesn't....

    it make the plane prone to tipping over if all of the passengers are on one side?

    1. d3vy Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Doesn't....

      Yes, the article doesn't go into detail but the plane will barrel roll for the whole flight

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    FAIL

    It's the little things that add up

    Taxi to the airport - $ pay extra for your luggage - $ pay extra for a seat - $ Stand in security line for 1.5 hours pay for a meal for the family in the secured section of the airport - $$ buy a few snacks for the flight as the food on the plane - $$$

    I recently paid $75 for lunch - 3 hamburgers and drinks at ORD.

    Every trip I say I won't get worked up about the prices, we're on vacation and trying to enjoy ourselves, it rarely works out that way ;-{

    In our next chapter, we discuss the ever decreasing size of the seats and the leg room illusion.

    Until then keep it cramped eh?

  18. d3vy Silver badge

    I've only been over the pond once in an A330.. Experience was fine. I cant imagine it being degraded by being in a single isle plane. Maybe I'm weird but I didn't need to use the bathroom at all on the way out and only once on the way back so I dont see the bathroom situation being an issue.

    Thinking about it Im pretty sure there were only 4 toilets on the flight anyway - Pretty sure a single isle could accommodate 2 at the front and 2 at the back.

    Leg room and entertainment is the more important factor as far as I'm concerned.

    That said, we travelled as a family and took up a whole row of the whole middle isle so we could sit together - if we had been separated I imagine it would be a bit more stressful with kids wanting to constantly switch what parent they were siting beside!

  19. MJI Silver badge

    I think I will drive

    Comfy seats and better company.

    Can take longer but OK on expenses.

    I might volunteer to do our SA customer, might take a fortnight but what a trip that would be!

  20. mikeyg

    Oddly enough, when the 747 first came out we thought of them as cattle cars compared to the 707, which of course was single aisle, along with everything else that came before.

    To this day I remember the 707 as the most comfortable aircraft ever.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just relax

    I take long haul flights at least once a month, and as I am doing it on the taxpayer I travel by whatever airline is the cheapest. My only discretion is timing and number of stops - which gives a little wriggle room to choose a flight with slightly more legroom, its easy to see seat pitch on Google when route planning..

    A load of you guys should just chill. Spend money at the airport? Why? I can go 2 or 3 hours without having to have a snack! Very rare that I fail to get a window seat, which means no in flight disturbances. Swig the complimentary G&T, noise cancelling headphones on. Watch a film with lots of car chases that the wife wouldn't approve of. Eyeshade on and sleep or get stuck in to a good book and listen to music if its a day time flight.. Wake up when the pilot lowers the wheels.

    I know I'm lucky that I can sleep on planes, but it's partly a state of mind. relax, don't let it get to you and it's fine.

  22. Usermane

    Planes could be uncomfortable if you travel paying the cheeeeeap fares but, who want to make the same trip from England to the East coast of the Atlantic in a ship as used to be until the jets changed the businesses?

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Ship

      I would

      Plenty of room.

      But never got to do it as the return trip vehicle was taken out of service.

      Yes I wanted to do ship & Concorde.

  23. ravenviz
    Facepalm

    First world problem?

    "At least 50 percent of the entire populations in 38 of the 49 sub-Saharan countries live without electricity."

    - Washington Post

    I think we can live with a little discomfort now and then.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    B757 ?

    AA still flies the 757 across the Atlantic. The PHL/AMS run to name but one. It's hell on wings.

  25. BoomHauer

    There will be appetite for smaller planes as they can place cheaper pilots with lower benefits, and cheaper landing & parking fees. The other factor is that there are a limited number of routes (IE: only so many flights per day), forcing the equation in the other direction - higher seat density.

    UN Aviation study on airline Opex & Productivity

    https://www.icao.int/MID/Documents/2017/Aviation%20Data%20and%20Analysis%20Seminar/PPT3%20-%20Airlines%20Operating%20costs%20and%20productivity.pdf

  26. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    As a passenger, I rarely visit the aisle on the other side...

    The second aisle (in itself) isn't that much of an important feature.

    A second aisle does allow jogging laps around the cabin, which is very annoying for those of us that don't feel the need to circle.

    Presumably somebody in the aircraft design department will calculate the optimum number (by some definition) of washrooms based on passenger count and the maximum duration of flight. In theory, washroom count could be somewhat independent of the number of aisles (at least directly).

  27. ggalt

    Stop Your Whingeing

    We used to fly trans-Atlantic on 707s, and we LIKED it (along with the noise of those turbojet engines and the pervasive smell of jet fuel)!! Also, a 5-hour flight on a 737 or A320 is pretty much standard for crossing the US or flying to Hawaii.

  28. Jason Hindle

    More likely good for routes into Africa and Middle East

    The European Airlines have long been a little envious of Turkish who, thanks to their hub at IST, can cover a rather large area with 737s. Beyond Europe, there’s a market for point to point business between smaller airports. Not forgetting the possibility of an all business cabin on some routes.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hyberbole

    "Airbus thinks it can improve that experience with new cabin layout and door options for the A321LR"

    Let me translate. "New cabin layout" - seating by passenger height. "Door options" - emergency exits in the roof freeing up valuable floor space for more seats.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They have a bathroom on A330s? How amazing is that!

  31. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    Airbus Layout

    Boht Airbus and Boeing's standard layouts feature reasonable legroom and amenities, its sadists like Oleary that take out the amenities and shove in more seats.

    the typical capacity on a A321 is 206 (6 rows less than max) giving a rather spacious 31" seat pitch in economy and 45 in business

  32. progpen

    Divide and conquer

    Pretty interesting how the airlines have successfully pitted flyer against flyer and largely avoided responsibility for comfort. Recliners vs. non-recliners, tall vs short, there is no shortage of ire and even malice between passengers but if this comment section is any indicator, relatively little ire going to the actual cause of all of the discomfort.

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