One inch added to the width of your airline seat improves sleep by 53%, an Airbus study has found.
A study by the London Sleep Centre commissioned by Airbus found an 18-inch-wide seat improved sleep quality and duration for all passengers, compared to a 17-inch seat. Passengers fell asleep more quickly 14.7% of the time, and awakenings were fewer.
Airbus head of passenger comfort (you'll be glad to know there is such a thing), Kevin Keniston, called on airlines to make an 18-inch seat standard.
Keniston said airline seat design dates to the 1950s. That was when long-haul flights were rare, waists were smaller, and people were shorter.
The average US cinema seat is now 22 inches, he said.
Dr Maree Barnes of Melbourne's Sleep Health Foundation advised passengers to prepare for sleep as they would at home. Wear pyjamas and eye-masks, and avoid a big meal, alcohol, or caffeine before bedtime.
Keniston said the number of flights above 13 hours had increased 70% in the past five years.
Given long-lead times on aircraft design and delivery times and length of service, Keniston said airlines needed to plan for wider seats now, or jeopardise passenger comfort into 2045.
A poll of readers of the Brisbane Times newspaper found 94% thought economy-class seats too narrow.