Having flown on the 787 ‘Dreamliner’ just over a year ago, I have constantly raved over its ability to walk off the aircraft at your destination feeling completely refreshed. There is a but though…
Yes, I flew with Norwegian to New York, so we are not talking a mainstream carrier here, but they do all offer the same configuration of 3-3-3 nine abreast layout in Economy. On the outset you might think this is OK, but when you delve a little closer, it could just be one of the worst experiences on any aircraft, let along long haul.
The first thing you notice is the very narrow seats, yes extremely narrow. Given that it is a long haul flight they feel narrow, and this isn’t just a short hop to the continent on Ryanair or easyJet. I was sat in an emergency exit row, and I think that this was even more noticeable given the non-moveable arm rests. Space is a really important thing when travelling long haul in economy, but for me the 787 isn’t the perfect dream.
At 6 inches wider and with more vertical side panels than the 787, Airbus’ A350 is slowly being brought into service by a number of airlines around the world. Those 6 inches are going to make all the difference to the economy passenger, with the same nine-abreast 3-3-3 layout. That is nearly an extra inch per seat, something you will notice. It also pulls away from the trend of the 777 of going to 10 breast seating, another of the grim configurations facing the travelling public you might not immediately notice.
I can’t wait to try out the new A350 as it promises everything the 787 ‘Dreamliner’ did, but does it just so much better. This could be the ‘dream’.