"But, as airlines continue to look for ways to lower their Cost per Available Seat Mile, "or CASM", Boeing wants to have a high-density version of its most popular aircraft available for purchase. The notes that reducing CASM is a major goal for this high-density 737 with Boeing targeting a 5% increase in per-seat efficiency."
Before you move the family to the front of the airplane thinking its a new airline incentive for booking passengers, its really a way of looking at enhancing the revenue system. Not surprising, It starts with seat count. Further its not surprising that filling space with form fitting seats.
Gone are the days of a strato-lounger with wing tip accents on the top corners for resting your head in a snore down with other passengers. Forget those 3-4 inch thick cushions surrounding you like a 7.1 speaker system. Space is what airlines are seeking and space becomes fixed on every airline no matter the aircraft size from the 737 MAX to the A-380.
Conceptually, Boeing gives parameters on weight hauling potential for every particular model. After-all, passengers are dead weight aren't they? From the airline concessions stand in the kitchen to the storage rooms in the belly, or overheads, its all weight. Each seat represents a factor for weight, including fuel. Addressing what filling a seat means, giving a final answer found on your ticket price. I have invented my own acronym for this calculation Seat Weight Efficiency Applied Totals or (SWEAT). What SWEAT does is assign a weight performance factor per seat. Variables are then measured as potentials from typical load per seat going the distance.
One Seat SWEAT Totals:
- Expected customer weight, avg. 80 Kilos
- Expected customer Luggage Weight, both carry -on and checked. 24 Kg's
- Expected in service supplies, such as liquids and food 2.5 Kg's
- Expected Fuel weight per seat for trip duration (airline derived number per route)
- Total payload number divided by total seat number.
An airline can predict very accurately total TOW as a function of paid customers. It can add mail , other freight shipments or additional passengers from a fixed space of a particular model. The efficient seat configuration could add extra seat rows over the length of the passenger space without giving the passenger any discomfort. A thin line seat opens up possibilities for the airline without sacrificing customer comforts. Two more rows adds up to 12 more seats in the same space as found in the former 737 NG model..
An airplane with 150 seats will typically haul "150 passengers" as an optimal. Enter in all data from its data base, based on experience for 150 seats over the history of a particular airline model. Using this modeling, apply it against what the maximized ability from the manufacturer has established. In this example the airline has found that flying the aircraft for a particular route or in most cases maximum range, the 150 seat, always fly's within 70% of its true potential. It could easily fly with a dozen more revenue seats on-board every day. That's what the Max promises with the new seat interiors purposed and additional space provided.
Now the seat and its space becomes the issue! Not the engine, flight controls or laminar flow technology. The seat companies are on deck to make a seat fit you like a new tailored outfit. The seat becomes the fashion statement for your travels and comfort not the pitch number. A 32 inch pitch with an old lounger type seat could not even leave room for your legs and feet. Put your feet up on the bottom seat pad and curl up like a ball for the duration of the trip. However, the seat people came to the rescue, and make the most important contribution in decades. The old Pan AM Clipper seat has nothing over the new seat that are a coming!
There are many seat offerings so I'll pick on Recaro, an easily recognizable name. Its form fitting seat allows the 32 inch seat pitch more room for its customer, at the same time more comfort than any predecessors. Magic, the seat pitch battle between air manufacturers have grown a pair of "" with the mention of pitch. Pitch now becomes a subset from the seat installed and deserves the "" around the word "pitch". These form fitting seats wear like a stylish suit, creating more space within the pitch allotment. Pitch has redefined itself by the seat itself. I would rather see on manufacturer advertisement on seat pitch we have a 32R pitch (R for Ricaro), which is significantly more than a our competitors 32Z pitch (Z for Zebras).
So the seat is now defining the Airline Model types that hold 182 passengers.
"Using these seats, we can maximize the aircraft's revenue potential by fitting 182 people in the same space with lighter seats, giving more room in its allotted within 31-32 inches. That will add more loading weight per seat drawing it closer to the Airplane's best and efficient number for revenue, thus lowering the ticket price. After-all, its all about the passenger and its seat.