Airbus has called upon the airline industry to require wider seats on long-haul flights, according to CNN Money. The request is the result of a new study that shows that only an extra inch of seating space vastly improves the in-flight comfort and sleep quality.
The study comes from the London Sleep Center, which found that seats that have an 18 inch width led to a resulting 53 percent improvement in the sleep quality of passengers in comparison to the 17-inch standard that is currently offered by many domestic airlines.
Some industry analysts are interpreting the call for wider seats as a call aimed at rival plane manufacturer Boeing, which makes planes that have narrower seats, according to Jay Sorensen, from IdeaWorksCompany.
"It's a rather shameless attempt at self-promotion using statistics from sponsored research," Sorensen said.
The seats on Airbus planes are already 18 inches on long-haul flights. According to the company, "other manufacturers [were] eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths."
Their reasoning behind the call for wider seats is that the standard of 17-inches was developed in the 1950s, when most flights were shorter. Today, more people fly long-haul flights, so the old standard is out of date. Airbus also pointed out that other transportation industries, such as the auto industry, has increased the width of seats to accommodate the larger size of people as average weight has increased. Additionally, the airline suggests that people have a higher expectation for personal space.
"Airbus has conveniently picked a dimensional aspect that benefits them," Sorensen said. "Note that they are not addressing seat pitch - the space between rows - or recline angle."
If Boeing were forced to widen the seats, the planes would fit fewer passengers, according to Sorensen.
Boeing didn't respond to CNN Money to comment, though the two airline companies are known to be competitors.
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