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JMChladek
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Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:45 pm

A couple of recent topics have gotten me thinking of late. I have heard some posters here complaining that they would not want to take a long transcontinental flight on something like a 737 or an international flight to Europe on a 757 due to the cramped nature of the planes in coach vs. a widebody. But, as far as I can recall, the cabin width on the narrow body Boeing products (727, 737, 757) is the same as the classic 707 and all planes have the 6 across seating. In the case of Douglas products (DC-9, MD-80-90, 717), they for the most part have 5 across seating which is like what the DC-8s had in coach as far as I can recall.

In years past, 707s and DC-8s were all that there was in pure jets to get somebody from point A to B, be it cross country or international (Atlantic or Pacific). So in that case, a flight on an NG 737 from say Newark to Seattle wouldn't be that much different from a 707 flight from four decades earlier and the same goes for a 757 heading to London from the US.

The widebody revolution didn't start until the 747 came on line and its main purpose for having as wide a body as it had was to carry more cargo later in life when the SSTs started flying passengers to their destinations. History showed that didn't happen quite as expected and the result is everything from the 767 and DC-10, A300 and 310, to the A330, 777s and 340 and culminating in the biggest of the big stuff, the 747-400 and the soon to fly A380. If the powers that be at Boeing in the 1960s had opted for what was essentially a double decker narrowbody design for the 747, we might not have the widebodies, or at least not as soon as we did.

Now I do realize that seat comfort isn't exactly what it used to be with seat pitch being shrunk down to about a 30" average. But seat width doesn't seem to have changed all that much on the narrowbodies since there really isn't that much of a benefit to it (wider aisle for the beverage cart perhaps?). If I am incorrect in my thinking please let me know on the seat width situation. But, have the widebodies made us spoiled for them? Is it really that big a concern to spend a 5 to 9 hour trip on a narrowbody airliner verses a widebody going to the same destination?
 
Whisperliner
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:54 pm

I agree...isn't the 737ng pretty much a 707 but with 2 engines? I mean it has kept the 737 nose, and cabin width is exactly the same. (yes I do know that the 737 is so advanced that it is completely different from the 707, but from a non techincal standpoint the form factor seems to be about the same). But the extra space found in widebodies allow more space to walk around and in the 70's hang out in the 'foyer' area or lounges. Does anyone know exaclty how much the seat pitch was on the early 707's and how much it has shrunk?
 
nwacrew
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:19 pm

Seat pitch?

When I started as a flight attendant on DC-8's in the early 70's, a passenger seated at the window could reach the aisle without having to be a gymnast, and without asking the people in the aisle and middle seats to please stand aside. Try that on a "state-of-the-art" 737...

And yes, we were spoiled when every coast-to-coast nonstop flight was operated with a 747, DC10, or L1011. Flights were always fully staffed; they needed to be, because the airlines actually provided inflight service. (What a concept!)

I remember deli luncheon services which allowed passengers to help them selves from lavish spreads laid-out in the galleys. There were frequently TWO meal services on transcons. I remember widebody lounges - in COACH!

Six hours from New York to California, sardined into a narrowbody that is minimally staffed, and catered with pretzels and sodas is horrible as far as I'm concerned.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:26 pm

You get what you pay for. I'd rather pay less and play sardine for 6 hours. It's not a long time really. I sit longer at a stretch in my computer chair  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
TransIsland
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:30 pm

Honestly... when travelling in economy (which is 99% of the time), I actually PREFER a narrowbody to a widebody aircraft. Maybe it's the missing middle row of seats, but I feel LESS cramped.
I'm an aviation expert. I have Sky Juice for breakfast.
 
Whisperliner
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:22 pm

I'd rather pay more... and be able to go to the bathroom from a window seat without tripping over 2 other people and stumbling into the aisle.

Nwacrew, love your post! btw, how did the buffets work? was there a special table placed out, or was the food placed on the counters in the galley? I know at the very front of 747's there is a small table that looks to be a bar/buffet table?
 
col
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:50 pm

Guess its personal preference. On flight longer than four hours I would prefer a widebody, wider tube not so enclosed. I also go for an aisle seat, so I can get up easily. On a 747, always go for aisle in center bank of four, only one person kicking you when they pole vault as you sleep. Never use an airline 777 with the 5 in the middle, hell if you get middle.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:56 pm

I love the window. That way you don't have to move for others. However, the best thing is to travel with your wife. I can climb over her any day. She won't wake up.

As for my own calls of nature, I try to drink little. Not so good for my body, but at least I can sit still. I will admit that as you get over the 4-5 hour mark, it's a bit of a challenge  Big grin
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
RareBear
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:33 pm

Yes, I think we have become spoiled by the advent of the wide-body aircraft. I flew many a mile in the DC-6, DC-7, CV-880, always in coach. It was great at the time.

Same with IFE. I hear (read) all these posts by people whining that they aren't going to fly some particular airline because it doesn't have something to keep them entertained for the length of the flight. I always take one or two books along on a flight. My own IFE.
Illegitimus non carborundum
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:45 pm

I hear you RareBear. It's the same as people whining about public transport in London (and Stockholm). After listening for about 2 minutes, I ask them why they just don't drive instead. That's enough to shut them up.

You get what you paid for. Or as Robbie Coltrane so eloquently put it:

"It always peevess me off a little to hear people complaining about airplane food, as if having a meal in a metal tube cruising at 30000 feet isn't something of a miracle in itself."
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:45 pm

I hear you RareBear.

It's the same as people whining about public transport in London (and Stockholm). After listening for about 2 minutes, I ask them why they just don't drive instead. That's enough to shut them up.

Or as Robbie Coltrane so eloquently put it:
"It always peeves me off a little to hear people complaining about airplane food, as if having a meal in a metal tube cruising at 30000 feet isn't something of a miracle in itself."
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
dutchjet
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:07 pm

Yes, we have become spoiled and I think that "WIDE-BODY COMFORT" is a legacy from when the first 747s and DC10s were introduced and featured things like lounges, spacious seating, etc. In reality, at the present time, there is little difference in ACTUAL comfort between narrow-body and wide-body aircraft; passenger room is about the same, even though sometimes a widebody gives the illussion of more comfort. To be blunt, basic economy is not comfortable on any aircraft these days. long or short haul, wide or narrow body, and Airbus or Boeing (before that nonsense starts here).

Things have changed in the past 45 years, since the jet age was introduced, and even more dramatically in the past 2.5 years........much of the glamour of air transportation has diminished - why? Fares are very, very cheap (compare the price of an airline ticket 40 years ago to the same route now, after taking inflation into account, you will see just how much cheaper it is to fly today than it was in the past) and many of the ammenities are gone. Competition and open markets along with low-fare carriers have cut profit margins severly and fuel prices are up - thus, airlines have cut the product in order to stay in business. Also, First and Business Classes are far better today than ever before, while coach has become less and less comfortable - in all types of aircraft.
 
EddieDude
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 3:09 am

Advances in science and technology have resulted in the near disappearance of our ability to be surprised. We take so many things for granted. For my Dad, fifteen years ago, buying a computerized chess game was one of the most astounding things he ever saw in his life, whereas for my 4 year old nephew an iPod, a laptop computer and a DVD recorder are the most normal and natural things in the world.

It is a shame that travelling in coach nowadays is an experience nowhere near as pleasant as it was in the 70's or even before. But availability of air travel today is higher and the cost of it for passengers is much lower in adjusted terms.

As for widebody vs. narrowbody planes in long-haul routes, I confess I have never been on a flight longer than 4.5 - 5 hours in a narrowbody, so I don't know what it would be like, but the industry has gotten us used to that. An example, MEX-LIM takes 5:45 and LIM-MEX probably takes 6:00. AM uses a 752 and TA uses an A320. So far, nobody complains. Now, LA's Peruvian affiliate will start doing the route with a widebody and nobody will want to fly AM or TA to LIM anymore unless they upgrade their aircraft, charge a substantially lower fare or offer some kind of compensation such as double mileage or something.
Upcoming flights:
April/May: AM MEX-SCL 788 (J), AM EZE-MEX 789 (J).
 
navairjax
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:00 am

Of course at the rate things are going with RJs a 757 or A320 can feel like a widebody. I reguarly fly UA/UX and my RJ flight is usually LONGER than my mainline flight. All this when my first ever UA flight twenty years ago was on a DC10 (BOS-ORD), a route that hasn't seen a widebody in quite some time.
 
Ken777
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:04 am

My first long haul, 30+ years ago, was a 707 from HNL to SYD on PanAM.

At that time it was a rather comfortable flight in cattle car, and we were traveling with our 1 year old son. A great supper and I think the scrambled eggs for breakfast were actually cooked on board they were so fresh - the coach food then was better than a lot of business/first meals I get these days.

Now coach is far more cramped than those days and the overall comfort level has dropped significantly. At least in a wide body you have the visual comfort of a wide room and high ceiling - any little bit helps in the back! My best flights, however, are when I get to sit in a 747's upper deck - not wide, but very comforting.
 
hz747300
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:13 am

I remember any flight I took to PHX used to be an AA DC-10, or TWA L1011. Then when I went to ASU in 1995, looking out from the dorm, it appears to be only a steady stream of Southwest and America West 737s.

As far as planes for the route--why does BA fly the 777 on the LHR-JED route? It is always empty, except when the expat schools let out for summer. It would seem that at A319, or 752 could do the trick. Is it cargo?
Keep on truckin'...
 
tristarenvy
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:19 am

In the late 90's I flew from San Diego to TPA, by way of Atlanta. Part one of the trip was on a very, very full 757. Cramped? Yes! Lovely plane, but I was practically sitting in the lap of the person, next to me. Part two(and the main reason I arranged the trip a certain way) was on a DL Tristar. What a pleasure. I was way back in coach, but felt almost like I was in first. Plenty of room. Given my druthers I'd arrange a trip ALL widebody....

If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
WindowSeat
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:20 am



Well, I wasn't around when some of you flew, so I haven't experienced the service that some of you did years ago. Considering today's situation, I would take a widebody anyday over a narrowbody.

- Space. Believe it or not I like more space, even if it isn't in my seat. My personal space maybe the same on narrowbody/widebody, but the general feeling of spaciousness helps. I can walk around if I want to, there is usually more space between sections where you can stand/chit-chat with other passengers. No such luck on narrowbodies.

- Being an aviation nut, I have always been fascinated by the sheer size and the dynamics of wide body aircraft, so naturally a landing with 16 tires of a 747 is much more exciting for me than the 737.

- Better service. Yes, there is a difference. Widebodies are used for longer routes 4-5 hours or more, high capacity/high yield routes that you'll see some "service" on if you're going see it at all. They are generally staffed with experienced FAs, not to mention that there are more toilets on board (even if there are more passengers on board, there are options).

my two cents worth...

cheers


I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
 
pl4nekr4zy
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:31 am

As for my own calls of nature, I try to drink little. Not so good for my body, but at least I can sit still. I will admit that as you get over the 4-5 hour mark, it's a bit of a challenge

That's something I don't quite understand. Go ahead and drink all you want, and if you need to go then go. Don't hold it and be uncomfortable just because you don't want to say "excuse me" to a few fellow passengers. If you pay for your ticket, first class or not, then you deserve to at least be able to enjoy the flight without having to hold your piss in. Insane Lavatories were put on planes for a reason...
"Don't forget to bring a towel!"
 
alexchao
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:30 am

My flights usually take me across the Pacific into Asia, and I definitely wouldn't take a narrow-body aircraft. Even though Economy seat pitch is just as cramped, it still feels more spacious.

-alexchao
 
AlekToronto
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:38 am

I read this thread with some amusement.

Sadly the Glamour Days of Aviation are Gone! Like as been noted many times the airline industry has radically changed from an elite form of transport to an everyday joe - mass buslike transit system.

I always find it amusing when people tell me they want great service, amazing entertainment, wide legroom...all for $99 roundtrip!

The major airlines have woken up and realized that ABOVE ALL we the travelling public want LOW FARES..and they cannot offer low fares by flying B747's, DC10's from every city.

Economy class is all about price and we will out up with it cause we are addicted to low fares...if I want to whine about space or food or entertainment I will pony up the money for Business or First Class (still excellent on many carriers worldwide).

The same people that bitch about Ryanair's bad service are the ones that paid 9 pounds to fly from London to Italy and will bitch that BA (with higher service standards) will charge 49 pounds. Go figure..some people are never happy!

cheers to all!
Alek
 
kalakaua
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RE: Widebody Aircraft, Have We Become Spoiled?

Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:47 am

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