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ontherunhome – The B747 was not “designed for 10-abreast.”
Boeing specifically designed the B747 for a 9-across configuration.
At the time Boeing said it had opted for 9-across because the then average passenger was taller, larger and heavier thanks to improved nutrition post WW2.
In the early to mid-1970s I flew B747s with both PA and JL. In both cases economy class was disposed 9-across. Seats were really wide. Legroom was ample and probably 35 ins +
The airlines were happy with 9-across because it meant they had fewer seats to fill. You have to remember that the B747 was a huge capacity leap compared to the B707.
Mass air travel really began to take place by the late 1970s and that is when airlines decided to retrofit their B747s for 10-across.
Ironically today’s economy passengers are even wider and heavier than they were in 1970. And yet the seats they must occupy are the smallest they have ever been.
Here’s a piece of history from the days of Pan Am. It’s a B747 mock-up configured 2-4-3.
I know that readers favour economy class in the A350 over that in the B787.
But you ought to be aware that the French long-haul leisure airline Air Caraibes has become the first A350 operator to install 10-across economy seating.
One suspects some others will follow in the years ahead.
Air Caraibes’ first scheduled flight will be Paris Orly-St Denis de la Reunion on August 1.