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Heavy planes? Blame Business Class

Business Class seats are getting bigger and better but they’re also getting heavier. So what’s an airline to do when weight gained usually equals money burned?

In an age when airlines are doing just about anything to lighten their loads, some pundits claim it’s the pointy end of the plane that’s literally carrying the most blame.


Apparently those fancy Business Class seats with their comfy flat beds, massive back of seat screens and inbuilt bars, as fabulous as they are, also weigh A LOT. 


“The features and offerings provided to business class have definitely increased over time, which has an impact on the weight of the seat,” Elijah Dobrusin, vice president of development and strategy at LIFT by EnCore, an aircraft seating manufacturer, told Travel + Leisure.


And according to a recent report from Aviation Week, this is a particularly weighty issue that could limit an airline’s ability to economically operate flights in excess of 16 hours.


Given that flights of 16 hours or more were not feasible in the past, weight wasn’t as “critical” an issue as it is today, Mark Hiller, the chief executive of German seat-maker Recaro Aircraft Seating has claimed.


“Oil price is not the biggest driver. The problem is being able to fly these [16+ hour] routes. Some airlines need to change their seats to be able to go for the ultra-long-range routes,” Hiller said.


“Going forward, there will be more and more point-to-point [flights] and this will put more emphasis on weight in business class.”


Hiller reveals that his company has already been approached by “more than five airlines” who are  “challenged” by the increased weight of Business Class seats.


“Some seat development programs ran out of control on weight, and airlines are now exposed to higher weights [than planned].”


Perhaps Business customers will now have to feel the pinch that the poor folk in Economy do.


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 24 January 2018

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