Ethics of Qatar Airways going 10 abreast in economy

Being an economy traveller for some amount of time (I used to be 365-day-a-year economy all the way, but I’ve had some luck with fares lately), I know my way around what’s important and what’s not in an economy seat. My favourite economy seat has adequate padding, width, TV, USB gadgets, recline and everything you need in an economy seat to survive, and it’s Cathay Pacific/Dragonair’s new economy seat (for those complaining, I find Singapore’s to be less well padded, I haven’t tried Emirates’ A380 seat nor have I tried Garuda’s seat).

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

There are a few things I love about the seat that I can’t say for, say, Air New Zealand’s 777-200ER economy seat:

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Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class Seat 44H, J, K

  • The IFE is better (duh, you need good IFE to survive)
  • The seat is better padded (on Air New Zealand, I had to get up a few times because of too much pressure on the back)
  • There’s USB charging

Padding aside, I feel like airlines are moderating their seats to be more on par with Cathay Pacific’s, with new-technology padding and more power on the seats, which is a good thing.

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Premium Economy Mary Poppins

Turning the page a little bit, Emirates, Philippine Airlines, China Airlines, American Airlines and a few other airlines are airlines that have chosen for a 10-abreast layout on the 777-300ER. The 777-300ER was built for nine-across seats, but then British Airways (who learned and corrected their mistakes), soon followed by other airlines, opted for the more-revenue 10-abreast product. I’ve yet to have seen one or experienced of those, but China Eastern’s 17-inch-wide product was enough, even for a few hours, let alone sixteen…

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China Eastern Boeing 737-700 Economy Class Seat

Qatar Airways implemented their 10-abreast product on their latest 777-300ER, which was a bit of a surprise for me regarding the “world’s five-star airline”.

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Boeing’s Boeing 777-300ER prototype

If an airline which is classified five-star (Qatar is the second five-star airline behind ANA to install 3-4-3 layouts on their 777s) has the balls to cram seats in economy, what is the future of economy class going to be?

And with seats getting more high tech these days, does it matter?

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