|Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 117):|
Not sure where you travel but almost every flight I've been on in the past couple of years
South East Asia!
QANTAS reports load factors around the 76% mark, Singapore around the 79% mark, Cathay Pacific recently reported load factors close to 87%, but that was an increase of 5% over the previous year and included Dragonair that flies into mainland China.
If we adjust the figures for different load factors with an aircraft fitted with 288 economy seats we have the following:
Economy (Y) Seat Count: 288
Rows for 9 Abreast: 32
Rows for 8 Abreast: 36
Load factor 9 wide 8 wide 9 Abreast Seating 8 Abreast Seating (sorry tabulations don't work on A-Net)
L/F Pass. Average Average
75% 216 6.75 6 24 144 67% 0 72 33%
80% 231 7.21875 6.416666667 7 121 52% 15 57 25%
85% 245 7.65625 6.805555556 21 86 35% 29 43 18%
90% 260 8.125 7.222222222 4 56 22% 8 28 11%
95% 274 8.5625 7.611111111 18 28 10% 22 14 5%
In summary (I don't know how to insert a spreadsheet)
9 abreast seating
Load factor 75%: 67% of passengers vacant seat next to them; 80%: 52%; 85%: 35%; 90%: 22%; 95%: 10%
8 abreast seating
Load factor 75%: 33% of passengers vacant seat next to them; 80%: 25%; 85%: 18%; 90%: 11%; 95%: 5%
If we look at the percentages, typically a passenger is twice as likely to have a vacant seat next to them on a nine abreast aircraft over a 8 abreast aircraft.
If we consider the 10% of passengers that prefer a wider seat, would equally accept a vacant seat beside them (in lieu of a wider seat), in theory it is not until the 95% load factor mark that those passengers can not be accommodated for.
As such, instead of airlines flying around heavier aircraft with 18" seats, they could adopt seat assignment and passenger profiling technologies that allows seats to be assigned to passengers on their preferred preferences. For example, passengers flying as couples would (not) prefer to be seated to next to each other where as passengers flying solo would (not) prefer to have a vacant seat next to them.
If an airline can satisfy 50% of its passengers that make a buying choice based upon the width of a seat with this approach, the airline will have an extra 32 revenue passenger seat opportunities to offset any of those passengers who decide to fly on another airline. My estimate/guess is around 15 passengers maximum at a 95% load factor.
For reference I often fly on the shut eye Singapore Airlines BNE
flights simply because I can sleep as normal on the flight. If I have a person sitting next to me I will find it difficult to sleep (1-2 hours), If I have a vacant seat next to me I can sleep 3-4 hours (of the nine hour journey). Recently, I started flying the Sunday flights as there are often full rows of vacant seats. This means I can lie down and capture 5-6 hours of sleep.
In all instances the flights are operated by A330 18" 8-abreast seat aircraft. For me my buying choice is based upon (1) late night schedule (2) having a vacant seat next to me, (3) having the opportunity for a full row of seats to myself, (4) width of seat.
As such when load factors rise I am more likely to have my buying choice options ticked on a 17" 9 seat abreast aircraft rather than a 18" 8 seat abreast aircraft. At very high load factors, it is still more likely that I will have some of my buying choice options ticked of the 9 seat abreast aircraft.
At the end of the day, I don't like flying on aircraft with high load factors, so my preferred buying choices are overwhelmed by being stuck in a aircraft with lots of people. In those instances.......as long as the airline keeps feeding me......I'll live to fight another day!