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Why flying economy may become a bit more pleasurable

Not that pleasurable 

Long-haul flying in cattle-class could become a whole lot more comfortable in the future thanks to pioneering research by Harley Street medical practice, The London Sleep Centre.

The research into the impact seat width makes to levels of passenger comfort has triggered an appeal to the aviation industry to set a minimum standard of 18 inches (45.72cm) in order to improve the future comfort of long haul air travel.

Researchers recorded every standard physiological sleep measurement, including monitoring brainwaves, eye, abdominal, chest and hip leg movement, on a selection of passengers, and the results revealed that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53% when compared to the 1950s 17-inch standard.

Dr Irshaad Ebrahim MBChB MRCPsych of The London Sleep Centre said: ‘The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night’s sleep in the 18-inch seat. They went from one sleep stage to the next as you would expect them to do under normal circumstances. Whilst in the narrower 17-inch seat the passengers were affected by numerous disturbances during sleep – which meant they rarely experienced deep restorative sleep. When it comes to flying long haul in economy, an inch makes a huge difference on passenger comfort.’

Since 2008, the number of 13-hour flights and over has increased by 70%, and in the next 15 years passenger traffic is set to double.

It’s time for the aviation industry to give us bigger seats – or an upgrade…

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