How Passenger Comfort Could be Improved in Economy Class

The science behind sleeping well on planes could come down to just one inch of extra space.

A study by Airbus, which manufactures aircraft, reveals that an 18-inch wide seat can result in better quality sleep than snoozing in a 17-inch seat. Participants in the study fell asleep 14.7% more quickly in the wider seats and spent more time asleep on long-haul flights.

The current 17-inch seat typical of many economy class cabins is a throwback to the 1950s, before long-haul flights became a normal part of life for so many. The old style seats also fail to address the issue of overweight and obese passengers. According to sleep physician Dr Maree Barnes, an extra inch would provide additional comfort and increase the chance of a better and longer sleep.

Dr Barnes’ other tips for getting to sleep on a plane include following as close a routine to your normal bedtime procedure as possible, according to the Brisbane Times. Wear pyjamas and blinkers and avoid stimulants close to bedtime to increase the likelihood of a good night’s sleep on board.