Seats in the economy section of large planes can vary in width -- some planes offer seats that are 17 inches wide while others offer a roomier 19 inches.
The study from The London Sleep Centre found that seats, with a width of 18 inches, led to a 53% improvement in passenger sleep quality compared to the 17-inch standard offered by many airlines.
Airbus, part of the pan-European aerospace conglomerate EADS (, is hoping that all airlines will adopt the 18-inch standard for long-haul flights. )
Airbus' call seemed more like a missive aimed at its rival across the ocean, Boeing (Fortune 500), which makes planes with narrower seats, said U.S.-based airline consultant Jay Sorensen from IdeaWorksCompany. ,
"It's a rather shameless attempt at self-promotion using statistics from sponsored research," said Sorensen.
Airbus said that seats on its long-haul planes were already at least 18 inches wide.
The company said "other manufacturers [were] eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths."
The aircraft manufacturer said the 1950's standard of 17 inches is out of date, as more people are flying frequent long-haul flights.
Sorensen said that "Airbus has conveniently picked a dimensional aspect that benefits them. Note that they are not addressing seat pitch -- the space between rows -- or recline angle." He pointed out that if Boeing were forced to widen its seats, the planes wouldn't fit as many passengers.
Boeing was not immediately available for comment.
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