Passengers too wide for aircraft seatsMany flyers are cramped in smaller seats

29 November 2006

Air passengers are getting too wide to fit comfortably into some aircraft seats, a new survey has revealed.

The poll by the holiday company First Choice found that two-thirds of men are too broad-shouldered for their neighbours' liking in aircraft seats of 16-inch width, which is currently the narrowest operated.

And women have, on average, put on 1.5 inches around the hips between 1951 and 2002 and are also broader across the shoulders, according to the survey.

The survey, which analysed data from the national sizing survey SizeUK, also showed that one in seven women would feel too broad-shouldered in the narrowest seats, while about one third of male passengers would feel cramped in airline seats 17 inches wide.

First Choice said it would be using the findings to lobby authorities to set an industry-wide standard for defining seat width.

Seat width

The company added: ‘In the past, airlines have tended to push extra leg room as a selling point.

‘But while it is common knowledge that people are taller than they used to be, the survey is the first to show just how much wider they have become.’

First Choice marketing director Tim Williamson said: ‘All airlines choose a configuration which is right for them and their business model, but we believe the measurement should be transparent and easy for customers to access.’