Comparing Economy Seat Pitch on the New Airbus A220-300

Jul 17, 2018

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Until last week, the Airbus A220 did not exist. Well, not as the A220, at least — as part of a partnership with Bombardier, the Canadian manufacturer’s former CS100 and CS300 became the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300, respectively.

The larger -300 model made its airshow debut at Farnborough this week, with attendees getting a chance to peek inside. The interior is identical to that of the “old” CS300, which we’ve reviewed in the past, though Airbus has added its A220 branding to the headrest covers.

The cabin of this Airbus demo plane also had another feature I hadn’t spotted before — variable seat pitch — giving airline visitors an opportunity to see how outfitting decisions impact passenger comfort on this flashy new narrow-body plane.

I happened to run into 6-foot-2 TPG reader Steve S. on the plane, and asked if he wouldn’t mind helping me demonstrate the seat pitch.

Let’s start with a pitch of 35 inches — a very generous amount that’s probably more than JetBlue’s thinking about offering on its upcoming A220s in regular economy, but a bit less than what you’d get in Even More Space rows. Steve looks pretty comfy.

32 or 33 inches is more likely what you’re find in regular coach on JetBlue, but it’s more generous than what other carriers, like Delta, are expected to offer.

31 inches has been the standard for many aircraft flying within the US — this could end up being the amount Delta decides to go with for its regular coach seats.

And, finally, 30 inches — the standard amount you’ll find on some low-cost carriers, like Ryanair’s 737s, but two more inches than you’ll get on Spirit’s A320 family fleet.

Considering the 3,600-mile range you’ll get with the A220-300, six-hour transcon flights may become the norm — and if you’re tall like Steve here, you’ll hope your airline has opted to add more than 30 inches of pitch between seats.

The CS300 (now the A220-300) has been said to offer “the most comfortable economy class you’ll find,” and while the overall cabin design certainly plays in there, your carrier’s seat pitch pick will have a lot to do with your comfort, too.

Let’s hope US carriers decide to go with at least 31 inches of pitch — and ideally quite a bit more for JetBlue.

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