Long-Haul On a Single-Aisle Plane? Here's What Our Readers Think
When Airbus announced the new extra-long-range variant of its A321 at the Paris Air Show this week, it touted the new plane as a vehicle to bring narrow-body economics to routes that are traditionally served by wide-body aircraft. Airbus’s own press materials featured nonstop flights from New York to Rome or Sydney to Tokyo as examples of missions the new single-aisle plane could fly.
Airlines and manufacturers have been pushing the limits of their smaller planes for decades. Boeing 757s, for example, already commonly fly routes between the US East Coast and destinations in far-western Europe, so it’s not as if A321 flights to Europe would break totally new ground. However, the plane does represent an incremental step toward smaller aircraft taking on even longer routes.
How do prospective passengers feel about this newest development? We asked you, our TPG readers, to share your thoughts on social media. Reactions were mixed, but most essentially fell into two camps.
Those who favor long-haul narrow-body routes cheered the new Airbus for its ability bring direct connections between some city pairs for the first time.
Many also pointed out that as airlines try to pack more passengers on wide-body planes, narrow-bodies in certain configurations actually have wider, more comfortable seats than the layouts on some long-haul aircraft.
On the other hand, those in the "opposed" camp said narrow-body aircraft are by nature less comfortable and more cramped than larger planes, and therefore not suited to flight times that can hit eight hours or more.
One reader worried that narrow-bodies often have fewer places for passengers to go for a quick stretch.
Then, of course, there were those who were just indifferent, or remembered the days that narrow-body planes were really the only option for travel anywhere. Until the Boeing 747 came along in 1969 twin-aisle planes did not exist, and even after that, crossing oceans in narrow-bodies was common.
One reader even compared flying on a narrow-body to the luxury of the single-aisle upper deck of a Boeing 747.
But in the end (and perhaps we should expect this from our fun-loving readers), it turns out at least a few of you can't resist going for the joke: