How to find a seat on the world’s largest plane

(CNN) – One of the greatest luxuries we have when we fly is space: space to stretch out, relax, work and sleep as we fly seven miles above Earth at nearly the speed of sound.

Today, it’s international business class, with fully flat beds that are longer than most people’s height. But some rooms are larger than others. So which airline will give you the biggest bang for your buck?

To be clear, we’re not talking international first-class suites here, the type of space that can include private beds and reclining (or even swiveling) chairs. In most cases, they are so large that only giants need to worry about legroom or elbow room.

We’re talking long-haul business class, and here the amount of space can vary greatly: on the same Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft you can find eight seats above (United domestic configuration). Airlines) or 4 seats on (All Nippon Airways’ latest layout), and a variety of seats in between.

Oman Air's 787-8 and 787-9 provide extra space.

Oman Air’s 787-8 and 787-9 provide extra space.

Oman Air

As a rule, the fewer seats in a row, the more space you’ll have, so that’s an important thing to watch out for.

We asked Jason Rabinowitz, head of aeronautical research at ATPCO, an airline-owned company that maintains a database of almost every seat on an airplane and the cabin in flight, to for more information on which seat is the widest.

“A wide range of factors can make a premium airline seat feel ‘big’ or ‘small’.” “Different fuselage sizes will really make it necessary for an airline to shrink the seats a bit more than passengers are likely to be used to,” he said. “Some airlines have had to slightly reduce the seats originally installed on the Boeing 777 for the Airbus A350.”

80+ inches

Air Canada's extensive offerings can be found on its 777, 787 and A330 aircraft.

Air Canada’s extensive offerings can be found on its 777, 787 and A330 aircraft.

Air Canada

Space in economy class is typically based on both the width of your seat and how much space there is between any given point on your seat and that same point on the seat in front. That’s called “seat height” and it’s a good comparison for legroom, but in business class, where seats often overlap, pitch isn’t a great measurement.

ATPCO data measures bed length, not seat width, which can be complicated to measure for a number of reasons: unlike economy class, there is no standard “mid-armrest” measurement, to begin with. .

But there are several dozen combinations of airlines and planes where you’ll find bed lengths over 80 inches – that’s 6 feet, 8 inches, or 203 centimeters in length.

It should be noted that these seats are not as wide as a bed – these measurements are head-to-toe, and to maximize space on board most seats will taper above the shoulders and below the waist. teardrop pattern.

The largest chair stretches with a whopping 87-inch bed length – that’s 7 feet, 3 inches, or 221 centimeters, tall enough for most people.

Qantas offers spacious seating on its 787 Dreamliners.

Qantas offers spacious seating on its 787 Dreamliners.

James D. Morgan / Getty Images

These 87-inch seats can be found on planes from three airlines: Air France’s Boeing 777, Garuda Indonesia and Thai Airways. However, that doesn’t mean every 777 of these airlines has this seat size, so make sure you consider it carefully when booking.

Moving down the list are the 84-inch seats (7 feet or 213 cm to be exact) on the South American carrier LATAM’s Boeing 777-300ER and then the 82-inch (6 feet 10 inches, 208 cm) seats from Garuda Indonesia (on its newer A330-300 and -900neo) and Oman Air (on two A330s).

Rounding out a club of more than 80 people is a total of airlines with 80-inch seats (6 feet 8 inches or 203 centimeters). Again, these are not all planes per airline, so keep that in mind as you choose your flight.

The list is not too short

• Air Canada: 777, 787 and A330

• Delta: A330-200 and A330-300

• Gulf Air: 787-9

• Malaysia Airlines: A330-200

• Oman Air: 787-8 and 787-9

• Qantas: A380 (refurbished 2019 version) and 787-9

• Qatar Airways: A350 (Qsuites and front seats) and A380

• Royal Air Morocco: 787

• Virgin Atlantic: A350 and 787-9

So how do you find the widest seat when booking?

Delta's Airbus A330-300 has over 80-inch seats in biz class.

Delta’s Airbus A330-300 has over 80-inch seats in biz class.

Pouya Dianat / Pouya Creative for Delta Air Lines

If you can find flights with those planes, you can expect a spacious flight. If not, here are a few suggestions.

Make sure you travel completely flat: virtually all international business classes today come with fully flat beds, instead of the “side up bed” or side-sleeper from the 1990s and early 1980s. year 2000.

Find a neighborhood-free seat, also known as “full aisle”, “direct aisle” or “seat”. These seats mean that anyone sitting in a window seat doesn’t need to climb across the aisle, and often has extra elbow room.

The most spacious of these seats – and in fact, most business class seats – tend to be used on larger planes like Airbus’ Boeing 777 and A350, rather than the Boeing 787. and the smaller Airbus A330.

And don’t be afraid to take a close look at the cabin pictures.

“The overall design of the cabin can also create a sense of openness,” says Rabinowitz of ATPCO. “For example, some airlines have removed overhead bins from the center seating areas in premium cabins, giving those seats a much more airy feel.

“Better lighting and subtler cabin finishing and side details also work to create the appearance of a more spacious and airy cabin.”

Top image credit: Virgin Atlantic


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