Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Contortionist Guide To Wide Bodies

Going wide has started an insatiable appetite for stuffing an airplane with one more seat, because they can. The one more  "syndrome" is a anatomical  gyration governed by the techno terms of "Pitch", width and recline. What if an airplane maker goes wide for an eight seat row from a recommended stack of seats. The advertised builder specs says a 35" pitch makes room for the traveler allowing for a descent amount of recline backwards. Sounds great. Then the per seat data nerd enters the board room unbeknownst to the airplane manufacturer.

"I willing to bet", he states, "we can go nine across in seats with a 31 inch pitch, and spaciously cram 335 passengers on a 240 passenger Dreamliner. My per seat costs of travel will drop out of sight for the airline and we can brag the 787-8 is 40% more efficient than what we did with the 767."

The seat manufacturers were seated at the board room meeting and asked a pertinent question. How do you seat a 100 kilos and 185 cm, or the Passenger Maximum Take-Off Measurement (PMTOM, aka and stated as "Payment Of Money") for any passenger. They quickly came-up with Installing a scale at boarding where each passenger weighs in and is also measured by laser for cubic inch displacement. A limit is established from averages from everyone's displacement of passengers total space and mass. A  composite total is needed for crediting or surcharging the seat they have rented for the trip. I am not nuts, but I have a sense of humor. Please laugh when it's appropriate to do so.

The seat gurus at the table whisper back and forth for a few minutes, then say profoundly, "We can do that, here's how".

"I've got this 185 cm blob of weight which weighs 100 kilos. Stay with me its a story problem from the 5th grade. I've got it, I tell you! Two airplanes traveling towards any destination are going in opposite directions one has a pitch of 31 inches. The other has a pitch of 35 inches. The 35 inch seat pitch plane arrives in Amsterdam on time. The 31 inch seat pitch airplane arrives in Newark, NJ  and late, but full of bowling teams from Australia. Don't loose me here the key component of the story problem is coming now. The 35 inch pitch plane charges at least $1,000 one way, and the bowling teams from Australia pays  $500  for its 31 inch seat pitch, and all the beverages they can consume on a 16 hour flight. The Amsterdam plane traveled from St Louis, Mo. it went with wine for its customers.

The seat manufacturer intern gets excited, "We can make them stand while in semi seated posture. Legs from the waist down angle slightly to the floor. The seat only rest just a small portion of the human bum. Then we recline the upper torso with a 75 degree angle for resting the upper torso. The airplane seat pitch can be reduced to 24" and then you can add another 60 seats on the floor plan and go 400 passengers on a 787-8.

Passengers Seated In The Overhead Luggage Bin
Image result for contortionist
La Tee Da Photography

The question before you with this story problem, is how much revenue is collected from each flight and how much beer is spilled on the Australian flight?

$1,000 X 240 =  $240,000 US.
$500 X 335 = $165,500*

*About 1,000 gallons of beer spilled or actually sipped as dead weight with Jet Star.

Who wins: The NJ bowling alley wins, It took in about a million $US from a plane load of Australians flying Jet Star/Qantas. Its 787 has 31" pitch, and then it poured its passengers into its seats calling it a destination revenue maker not an airline winner. The Amsterdam flight just makes better friends and some more money.