How many people fit in an aircraft?

There used to be programmes on TV in which people were asked to take on challenges. If they successfully completed the challenge, they would win a great prize. I don't think any of those programmes ever tried finding out how many people could fit in an aircraft. But don't despair, this is something the airlines are busy experimenting with.

Folding seats in an aircraft

A while ago, I read an article in Travelpro magazine about a French interior manufacturer that has developed a design in which thirty extra seats can be fitted in a Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. The beehive design, as it's called, is extraordinary as it consists of folding seats that are fitted in the aircraft facing alternate directions. This unusual design will be of particular interest to low-cost airlines. 

Tricky situations

As the seats used in the new design cannot be adjusted, this means limited legroom and space for sitting. In view of growing demand for extra legroom, this doesn't seem to me to be a sensible choice at all. I also wonder what would happen if you need to go to the toilet or get something from the overhead luggage bins. The current set-up already often requires you to perform uncomfortable contortions, so how would it work if you were to sit in opposite directions?

Public transport by plane

I think it's clear that I don't see this as a positive development. Travelling by plane is starting to resemble travelling by public transport. Although this may not be a problem on short-haul flights, if you need to travel further afield, comfort during the flight has a direct influence on the effectiveness of the trip. I don't think travelling on folding seats will have any positive effect in those situations. 

Of course, travelling on folding seats would be quite a bit cheaper, but would these savings in cost compensate for the comfort you'd have to give up? I look forward to hearing your opinion.


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