180-degree lie-flat seatsBack to Forum
AnonymousGuest28 Mar 2012
Browsed united.com website, looking at their business class product. They mention “180-degree lie-flat seats” which puzzles me. For me, it is either lie-flat (i.e. angled) or fully flat (aka 180 degrees)… Isn’t it a weird wording?28 Mar 2012
It is confusing; I always take “lie flat” as a marketing con for a wedgie bed, whereas fully, 180 degrees flat is a proper bed.28 Mar 2012
I think they are under-selling the seat. It’s fully-flat
Lie-flat is the seat you’ll find on Lufthansa and Air France – a slope which can leave you sliding down to the footrest.28 Mar 2012
I think that what we are all forgetting is that to use “lie-flat” to describe what is in effect an extended recliner is taking technicalities a bit too far.
So, really the whole fully flat seats cannot be described properly due to marketers taking over the vocab for the more popular (among airlines) other type.28 Mar 2012
Surely the issue as with so many things with airlines is that there are no longer standard terms? There are reclinig/cradle seats the old standard still used in Europe and US domeatic, there are flat, flat bed, angled, which means either a170 or 180 degree recline but with an angled position leading to the soubriquet downhill racers as you can wake up slid down the seat. Then you have fully flat beds such as Virgin, these do not allow for continuous recline to a flat bed parallel to the ground rather they offer a limited recliner and are then flipped into a bed.. Finally you have lie flat or fully flat beds which allow full recline to parallel to the floor. You can then take issue over what a bed is. Beds have standard matress sizes and most planes come nowhere near the length or width of these.
If IATA were to publish standard terms then life would be easier but airlines want to spin their marketing as much as possible and hide their deficiencies, whether it is angle, length, width, recline, hardness, aisle access, direction of seat, bedding etc.28 Mar 2012
I agree, this is what we wrote in the Airline Survey a few years ago….
What about degrees of recline?
This can be measured in a number of different ways and despite our best efforts over many decades compiling Business Traveller’s Class Survey we have never managed to standardise it. Take economy class for instance. Would you consider the angle of recline to be the difference between the seat when upright and when reclined (so perhaps 7 degrees) or should that fully reclined position be recorded as the difference between vertical and the reclined position (so perhaps 25 degrees), or should it be from a horizontal position (so 119 degrees). And if horizontal, should that be from the angle the seat cushion is at (often not horizontal), or true horizontal, whatever that is when an aircraft does not fly horizontally.
In the case of business class, a seat can recline 180 degrees and still not be fully flat, although it will be lie-flat. Some find these seats adequate and certainly you can fit more of them into a cabin than in the case of fully flat, but how can this be recorded in statistics? Beyond a certain point, does anyone care? Well they would if we could find a consistent way of recording it, because a few extra degrees of recline in an economy seat on a 12 hour sector can often seem the difference between life and death – if not your’s, then the person behind who keeps banging your seat, or the person in front, who has reclined too far.28 Mar 2012
Would be far easier if the travel industry decided on standard terms to describe products being offered in business and first.
As far as economy is considered, it would be easier if the seats had a star rating. Whether a seat reclines 1 or 2 extra degrees could be offset by a footrest or more comfortable cushion seat padding.
Of course you then have the differences in someone 6’5″ tall against someone 5’7″ tall.28 Mar 2012
Yes Martyn, it may not be PC following the appauling abuse the disabled lady suffered on the BBC website yeaterday for complaining about having been stranded by a train operator, however if tallness was seen as a disability them we tall people would get a fairer deal from airlines.
I also feel very sorry for passengers with back problems, as airline seats are hardly orthopedically optimized particularly for 11 or 12 hours.28 Mar 2012
Hi Rich, I only mentioned the differences in height to discuss how a seat could be star rated as an average height/weight must be used.
Standardising terms for business and first is not so much of a problem in terms of customers understanding the product.
Economy is a bigger issue because the product will be differ from person to person. One solution is perhaps to follow the lead by Jet Blue (I think) where they have a number of economy seats on all aircraft with bigger legroom which are sold for a premium.
People have been discussing whether obese people should pay for 2 seats – same argument could apply to passengers who are over 6’5 1/2″!!!!28 Mar 2012
Martyn, sorry if i highjacked post. Obese people are charged for second seat. If you look at this commercially rather than attaching blame, this makes sense. Tall people are not given the option. Exit row seats and First Class offer more legroom. On most carriers both involve paying more though elites often can get exit row if limited avialability is there.
I would gladly pay for two seats in coach if they took the seat in front out or offered rows with double legroom but they don’t. So obese people get better treatment. If however I am classified as disabled then ADA or Uk equivalent means airline has to accomodate me.28 Mar 2012
Perhaps something inbetween economy and premium economy will evolve, 6 – 9 inches more legroom. It works on Jet Blue very nicely in their one class cabins.28 Mar 2012