Repeat Traveller

Airbus reveals new ‘budget economy’ seating

Economy class travel isn’t comfortable at the best of times, but it’s about to get even worse.

Airline manufacturer Airbus has revealed plans for a proposed new “budget economy” class on board its A380 aircraft, and I can already feel the aches forming in my back.

The new, but not necessarily improved, layout will feature a 3-5-3 configuration – squeezing a whole additional seat into the middle section. That means there will be 11 seats to a row.

Photo: Airbus
Photo: Airbus

Budget Economy was revealed this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, and is intended to further segment the travelling public and increase revenue for airlines.

Airbus has named the new layout configuration ‘Choice’, and it includes Budget Economy, Comfort Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class.

Chris Emerson, Senior Vice President-Marketing for Airbus, told Leeham News that the company wants to give more choice to economy passengers.

“Ninety percent of world travelers are economy. But not all are homogenous. It’s becoming more and more complex. You are segmenting the cabin space, pricing by different seats.”

“We want to give a choice to the 90% of the economy passengers. They are going to be the driver of the growth, the doubling of growth in the next 15 years.”

Seats in the Comfort Economy section will remain at the current 18-inches wide, while the Budget Economy section will shrink to a narrower 17-inch width.

Those seated in seats A or K are in for a tight squeeze.

It will be up to operators whether or not to utilize the new configuration option, which has already been dubbed ‘sardine class’. It’s currently unknown whether there have been any expressions of interest.

Would you be keen to fly Budget Economy?

Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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