skibum9
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Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:41 am

Why in the world did many airlines standardize around a 31" seat pitch? Did they do some sort of study that showed that it is cruel and unusual punsihment for taller people, so let's do it? I understand the business logic of packing in as many seats as possible into an airframe, but why was 31" the magic number?
Tailwinds!!!
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:44 am

It's actually 32" and it happened post deregulation. There was a time when 34" pitch in coach was the norm.

Gone are those wonderful days.
 
copenhagenboy
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:57 am

Thai Airways still have the 34 pitch in coach on longhaul
 
DL WIDGET HEAD
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:57 am

"Gone are those wonderful days" Not so, song offers at least 33" pitch at every seat. Even mailine DL is reconfiguring their coach a/c with increaesed pitch starting with the MD88's.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:04 am

33" doesn't cut it. How about you go with the 36" shuttle config.

Signed,

Former DL employee now disgruntled with the shit that has become of my once cherished airline.

Get your flipping acts together.
 
MD-90
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:04 am

Gone are the wonderful days when it cost $750-$800 to fly coach from Atlanta to JFK on a DC-6B instead of $200-$250 on an MD-88 (inflation adjusted).

Okay, I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, but you get my point.
 
Bobster2
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:10 am

JetBlue has 34" in rows 11 and higher, 32" in the first 10 rows.
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison
 
ANNOYEDFA
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:10 am

I said it one and I'll say it again..... All planes should have 3 classes.... Coach 29", Coach Plus 33" and then First.... All the deeply discounted tickets go to the back of the jet.... Full fair in Coach Plus and so on and so forth..... The class of service should also be different..... Economy only serve water, coffee, and tea sell everything else. Economy plus full beverage and again so on.......Also section the plane off in each class....  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
"TWA... One Mission, Yours."
 
airgeek12
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:17 am

Isn't 31" the law? Or maybe I'm thinking of the seat width. = /
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:20 am

AnnoyedFA:

Didn't the original National Airlines try something like that in the late 70's/early 80's? No-frills class or something for a lower fare. I don't believe it lasted long.

Cheers.
International Homo of Mystery
 
Indy
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:42 am

My opinion....

A 17" wide seat and a 31" pitch is an insult to travelers. It says to me "your comfort doesn't matter."

I think 18" and 33" to 34" pitch should be a federal requirement.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:45 am

The problem is not that the 17" wide and 31" pitch is cramp...

The PROBLEM is people have gotten tall as hell and big as f@ck! don't blame the airline cause people are expanding up and out..

Figure this correlation.. if the seats and pitch goes up, the fares should go up equally.. and no one wants that.. so people will just have to squeeze whatever they can into their seat and be happy!
Aiming High and going far..
 
N1120A
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:46 am

I think the coolest thing is that the LCCs actually have the best pitch (in the US, not Europe). WN is at 33, B6 is 32-34.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
boeingatl
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:06 pm

Figure this correlation.. if the seats and pitch goes up, the fares should go up equally.. and no one wants that.. so people will just have to squeeze whatever they can into their seat and be happy!

Yet major carrier AA managed to squeeze an extra inch or 2? And UA and DL are the ones fighting bankruptcy?

There is no justice somtimes. I'm 2 meters tall and how do you think I feel when someone next to me (5'8") complains about being cramped?
boeingATL
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:06 pm

Figure this correlation.. if the seats and pitch goes up, the fares should go up equally.. and no one wants that.. so people will just have to squeeze whatever they can into their seat and be happy!

Dumping six seats won't hurt anyone and if they had a little thing called service anymore, a $5 fare increase wouldn't mean jack. Seat width isn't the issue, leg room is.
 
j.mo
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:21 pm

It's genetics...


Oh, seat pitch? My bad. Big grin
 
chrisrad
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:37 pm

Malaysia Airlines, Air New Zealand, Thai amongst others still offers 34" inch pitch in economy, THAT should be the norm, not 31"
Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
 
m404
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:54 pm

Yesterday I read that some charter carrier had decided on a 28" pitch on it's new aircraft. Anyone remember who that was?
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
DAL767400ER
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:31 pm

>Yesterday I read that some charter carrier had decided on a 28" pitch on it's new aircraft. Anyone remember who that was?<
Wouldn't that be classified as torture? I don't know which airline announced that, but likely a UK-based charter airline, as those have a tendency for a lack of pitch (didn't Britannia have 29" some years ago?)
 
Indy
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:08 pm

ERJ170... people are getting taller and "big"ger. So why are the airlines going in the opposite direction with the seats? I'm waiting for someone to figure out they can squeeze more people in a jet if they go with a 16" wide seat and a 28" pitch. Put in a proper seat and charge accordingly. Don't make the seats so small and uncomfortable that people can't use them and then try and rip them off with a high fare for what should be considered a normal seat.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
gkirk
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:11 pm

The 28" Seats aint as bad as people make out. The one's who complain have probably never flown on an a.c with 28" seat pitch.
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
bennett123
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:36 pm


I am 5 foot 6 so the pitch is not a problem.

My beef is the elbow room, however if they go from 6 abreast down to 5 then that would really hit costs, so I suppose that I will have to grin and bear it.
 
Shamrock_747
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:52 pm

31" is a reasonable compromise used by many of the world's leading airlines. It may not be the most comfortable arrangement but increasing the pitch would result in less seats in the economy cabin. Some pax moan about lack of space, but I'm sure they'd be the first to say something when fares increase due to a lesser number of seats.

Many airlines now have enhanced economy cabins offering extra legroom and seat width for good value prices so "there isn't enough room" isn't really a valid excuse anymore on airlines such as BA and VS - the pax have a choice.
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:00 pm

The 28" Seats aint as bad as people make out. The one's who complain have probably never flown on an a.c with 28" seat pitch

Please say you are joking. The only flight I've done recently in coach (that was more than 40mins) was on UA in E+ and I found it very claustrophobic and this was on a relatively short hop from LHR-IAD.

The only time I've done 28" pitch (must have been) was when we went skiing and the company hired a JMC aircraft. The flight was only from LGW-LYS but found it agonisingly painful. I'm glad I was in BA F the week after!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:10 pm

Indy,

I agree... the seat situation can be a little binding.. but why are they going smaller? to fit more people in an aircraft.. to make money.. to cover their expenses that continue to rise all the time.. the days of the 80s and 90s are gone.. airlines had a different luxury then.. money was not an issue for most.. but today, almost every airline is having some sort of money issue. Even the might Southwest and jetBlue are not making as much money as they did earlier.. so they have to do what they can do to maintain finincials..

Can taking out 6 seats make a difference? Well, let's see.. here's an example.. if you are working hourly and make $20/hour.. would 6 hours every week from now on make a difference? I would think so.
Aiming High and going far..
 
gkirk
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:26 pm

Im 5 ft 10, and find the seating not too cramped at all, unless your sitting next to a big person. My flights tend to be on average, 4 hours long, eg UK to TFS, UK to Turkey etc
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
DAL7e7
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:16 am

I'm a 5' 10" 13 year old and the seat pitch doesn't bother me. In fact, I hardly ever lean the seat back at all, even on my LAX-OGG flight.

Fbgdavidson:
you consider LHR-IAD short hop?

Trey
DAL7e7 is wondering... Do pilots take crash courses?
 
aeroweanie
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:43 am

I was once on a Garuda (or Merpati?) F-28 that had what must have been 24" or 26" seat pitch. Even with totally trashed seat cushions, I couldn't get my knees beyond the edges of the seat in front of me (I'm 5'10"). Luckily, I wasn't on the plane long.
 
ANNOYEDFA
Posts: 441
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:43 am

The reason they are going in opposite directs with seats is because fares are lower NOT HIGHER! Do you people seriously live in dream world aviation! SEATS MAKE MONEY NOT LEG ROOM!!!! No matter what an airline offers you will still fly it! So cram cram cram!!!! If you can fit 2 more rows at 28" so be it! People don't pay enough for confort.
"TWA... One Mission, Yours."
 
ZRH
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:58 am

The 28" Seats aint as bad as people make out. The one's who complain have probably never flown on an a.c with 28" seat pitch.

You are joking! Every existing economy class, even with 34 inch, is like hell. It is simply torture. The worst is the seat width, you always touch the elbows of the neighbors. BTW I am "only" 180 cm (5'11) and not fat. I think any mm more in pitch and width is very important. I can do without food and IFE when I get more room. I would never want to fly an airline with a pitch of 28'' (only perhaps on short- haul, but definitely not on long-haul).
 
hotje
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:02 am

28", hmmmmmm. Either Corsair or Martinair. Martinair is one of the charter carriers for a country known for having quite tall citizens.

I don't get it, so I don't fly them. (6"2'. 1m86)
 
elwood64151
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:15 am

Gone are the wonderful days when it cost $750-$800 to fly coach from Atlanta to JFK on a DC-6B instead of $200-$250 on an MD-88 (inflation adjusted).

Okay, I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, but you get my point.


Actually, inflation-adjusted, you may not be too far off...

Dumping six seats won't hurt anyone and if they had a little thing called service anymore, a $5 fare increase wouldn't mean jack. Seat width isn't the issue, leg room is.

Unfortunately, you're wrong. The industry has been commoditized. You can't offer better service and more room and be able to expect more bookings. Most passengers don't notice a difference when you add 2" of seat pitch. Most are going to bitch about pitch anyway...

Put in a proper seat and charge accordingly. Don't make the seats so small and uncomfortable that people can't use them and then try and rip them off with a high fare for what should be considered a normal seat.

Okay, so the airline loses 20% of its seating capacity by increasing seat pitch. That means, in order to make money (right now, they'd still be losing money!), they have to charge 20% more for their tickets. 90% of travellers WILL NOT PAY THAT EXTRA 20%!!!

Many airlines now have enhanced economy cabins offering extra legroom and seat width for good value prices so "there isn't enough room" isn't really a valid excuse anymore on airlines such as BA and VS - the pax have a choice.

Assuming they can afford it. I know I can't.

Sorry, playing Devil's Advocate there...

Please say you are joking. The only flight I've done recently in coach (that was more than 40mins) was on UA in E+ and I found it very claustrophobic and this was on a relatively short hop from LHR-IAD.

If 3400 miles is what you consider to be a "short hop," it's no wonder you have a problem with seat pitch... A "short hop" for me is BDL-PIT, roughly an hour...

You are joking! Every existing economy class, even with 34 inch, is like hell. It is simply torture. The worst is the seat width, you always touch the elbows of the neighbors. BTW I am "only" 180 cm (5'11) and not fat.

We're about the same size (almost exactly, in fact), and I don't consider economy torture at all. And I'm the kind of person who lounges sideways in a recliner for hours on end working on various projects...



Just out of curiousity, how is seat pitch determined exactly? I understand it's the distance from the back of the seat in front of you to the front of your own seat back, is that right? Or is it to the back of your own seat back? I've forgotten which one it is...
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:21 am

Unfortunately, you're wrong. The industry has been commoditized. You can't offer better service and more room and be able to expect more bookings. Most passengers don't notice a difference when you add 2" of seat pitch. Most are going to bitch about pitch anyway...

Is that why the RJ revolt is underway and UAL, JetBlue, SWA and F9 have opted for more room? Or perhaps why DL runs 737-800 shuttles with 36" pitch. American pulled it to improve their seat mile costs, nothing else. With all other service gone, the pax notice what is left. And that's personal space.
 
RedDragon
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:45 am

Just out of curiousity, how is seat pitch determined exactly? I understand it's the distance from the back of the seat in front of you to the front of your own seat back, is that right? Or is it to the back of your own seat back? I've forgotten which one it is...

Seat pitch is the distance between any point on a given seat, and the same point on the seat in front (or behind) - so in this case you're measuring from the rear face of the seatback in front of you to the rear face of your own seatback. Subtract the physical depth of the backrest and you'll have a few inches less physical room between seats.

Rich
 
iowaman
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:49 am

Thank god Allegiant no longer has a 29" seat pitch, that wasn't enough for a 3+ hour flight.
 
jmc757
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:52 am

You will find 28" seat pitch on a number of British registered charter aircraft. 29" is the standard but there are a few seats on the charter aircraft that are 28" for config reasons. I'm 5"11 and never found charter confuguration that bad, even on TFS at 4 hours 20 mins...
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:54 am

you consider LHR-IAD short hop?

Indeed. Anything over 10hrs for me is a long flight. Even the flight crew often say, 'For this short flight to Washington'.

Returns are even shorter, The shortest flight I've been on we got from IAD to circling over SE London in 5hrs 50mins.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
elwood64151
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:09 am

Seat pitch is the distance between any point on a given seat, and the same point on the seat in front (or behind) - so in this case you're measuring from the rear face of the seatback in front of you to the rear face of your own seatback. Subtract the physical depth of the backrest and you'll have a few inches less physical room between seats.

Okay, thanks. I wasn't sure anymore. Thanks for clearing that up.



So, let's assume that a seat back is four inches thick. That means at 31" pitch, there are 27" between the seat back in front of you and the front of your own seat. 27" of usable space. Now, I have a fairly big butt for a person of my size, but we'll use me as an example, anyway.

It is almost exactly 24" from the very back of my butt to the tip of my kneecap while I'm sitting down (I just pulled out the yardstick), giving me three inches of give. As I stated before, I'm 5'11" tall. So an average person of healthy girth at six feet tall (I'm 5'11") should have no problem in 31" pitch if they sit properly.

So, pull your butt all the way into the seat and sit properly (it's better for your back, anyway!!!) and if you need to stretch out a little, push your seatback back or lift your butt while keeping your feet in place...

Indeed. Anything over 10hrs for me is a long flight.

Ten hours would indeed be a long flight for me. But I guess I'm so used to flying through hubs or WN's p2p connections that sitting in a plane for more than three hours is, for me, a long flight.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
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Luxair
Posts: 836
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:11 am

Hotje wrote "I don't get it, so I don't fly them"

Exactly what I do, I prefer to pay a bit more and get
some comfort rather as to sit in a 28" torture seat on a long-haul flight.

To be honest, I would prefer not to fly as to do a 10HRS+ flight in a 28" seat give me a minimum of 31-34" and even
in that case I find it hard to survive for more than 10HRS.

I definitively avoid such airlines for long-haul.
 
wdleiser
Posts: 865
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:47 am

Wasn't the 34inch Seat pitch with the old style seats though? Now you have more leg room thanks to the thin seats and get the same reclination?
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 3:04 am

SEATS MAKE MONEY NOT LEG ROOM!!!! No matter what an airline offers you will still fly it!

No, not true. America West has lost several thousand in business from me when they put the Airbus planes into service and I ended up spending a whole round-trip with someone's seat back in my face. No thanks. I went elsewhere, and they've not seen a dime out of me since.

People do care, and it's attitudes such as "the more we punish our passengers the more they like it" that's costing pilots and flight attendents their jobs. Given the choice of a 28" pitch or not going, I'll stay at home.
International Homo of Mystery
 
WindowSeat
Posts: 1198
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 3:01 am

RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 3:39 am



AnnoyedFA,

I'm sorry, but since you don't actually SIT in those seats it is natural to feel that seat pitch should be smaller. So I don't blame you. For those of us who do have to sit in those seats for long periods of time, it can be somewhere close to a torture. No wonder the airlines that are most profitable around the world right now have seat pitch higher than 31".

SEATS MAKE MONEY NOT LEG ROOM!!!!

err..not exactly. PEOPLE SITTING IN THOSE SEATS MAKE MONEY, EMPTY SEATS DON'T.

Being one of those people that sit in those seats and make money for your airline (well, can't be yours, if your attitude is representative of all the FAs and the customer service it has to offer), take it from me, do not underestimate the power of the consumer.


cheers





I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
 
StanstedFlyer
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2001 4:48 pm

RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:53 am

http://www.ebookers.com/afo/flights/flight_help.html#leg_space

This is a handy little tool if you have a choice, and some are quite surprising!
View the photos by C Newman on Airliners.net!
 
NWA757
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2003 8:53 am

RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:09 am

Great Info. Very interesting.
Fly High!
 
Tod
Posts: 1709
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:51 am

RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:16 am

The new Corsair 744 will have a variety of pitches in Y class.

Some 31, lots of 30 and even an assortment of 29's for those so inclined.
 
perspicax
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 2:57 pm

RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 7:49 am

Isn't the number of seats on an aircraft also limited by FAA/JAA regulations regarding evacuation times, etc.?
 
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KLM11
Posts: 184
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RE: Why 31 Inches?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:38 am

Enough with Y Class, even some carriers are lacking on the "nice" seat pich in domestic/regional Business/First Class. NW has only 35'' of seat pitch on some of their newest short-medium range aircraft. I personally think that even 35'' is too tight for F class, considering that the seats can recline further, making it a challenge to accesss your seat in some cases. On the contrerary, AA provides many of its domestic F class passengers with 40'' of seat pitch, which is pretty generous. Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt a 38'' seat pitch a standard F Class pitch for domestic aircraft in the United States??

--KLM11
BENAIRE - The Refined Airline

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