I think we should start a support group for people who have survived a long-haul flight on a narrowbody aircraft. There are appear to be only a few of us who know the true horror of this type of flight! 10 hours on a 757, with only 2 engines and 1 aisle!!! It has taken me years to recover from the physical and emotional damage that was done to me by crossing the Atlantic in the economy cabin of a 757! I would like to share my pain with others who have had similar experiences...
In all seriousness, an economy seat is an economy seat, irrespective of what aircraft it is installed on. The ratios of passengers to crew and passengers to toilets will be the same/very similar. There may be slightly less space to move around on a narrowbody - but how long do you spend moving around on an average flight. 1 maybe 2 minutes out of 9 hours? From a personal view my personal flying hell is being stuck in any of the middle block of seats on an widebody, always 2-3 seats plus an aisle away from a window!
The advantages of narrowbody longhauls are;
- More direct flights to smaller airports ie shorter, more convenient journeys
- Faster boarding/disembarking/baggage handling
- Faster service on board
Apart from that from a comfort/seating viewpoint - there is little to choose between a narrowbody and widebody.
As a final thought;
Isn't it the B747 and the other early widebodies that are responsible for the end of the "luxury" of flying in economy as you would have found on a DC-8/707/VC-10. When the 747 arrived, airlines realised they had to drop fares to fill the things and as a result put in more seats to make it pay. Once airlines realised people would put up with minimum pitch and 10 abreast seating, and no lounges - that's how they made their economy class cabins. If you want to complain about uncomfortable long-haul flying - Blame the 747!