Cebu Pacific: 459 seat A330neo

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Cebu’s 459-seater A330neo: density beyond “greige”


When Cebu Pacific announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show how many seats it was putting on its Airbus A330neo, there were gasps of shock. 460 were planned, and now 459 Recaro slimlines have been unveiled on board the -900neo aircraft in Manila. The interior is bright and well-considered.

There’s no getting away from the fact that this is an incredibly dense aircraft, of course, perhaps the most dense flying anywhere in the world. Nine-abreast seating on the A330neo cabin — like the A330ceo, A310 and A300 before it — is used exclusively by low-cost, charter and discount leisure carriers, and it’s clear these seats are narrow. That is, after all, how Cebu and other LCCs democratise air travel.

The article has a link to a youtube video showing off the cabin in all it's ludicrous-mode dense glory. I do like the decor, but those seats are *super* narrow, and apparently "pre-reclined". Given these are going to be used for Cebu's longer routes (inc. MEL and SYD), you'll need to be lithe to survive. Reminds me very much of Air Caribes 3-4-3 A350s :/ Much as reducing the cost of travel is undeniably "A Good Thing", I do feel we are getting to the point where regulation is needed to ensure seats are fit for purpose, and passengers get a realistic amount of usable space on longer flights. What might be acceptable and tolerable for a 2-3-hour short hop doesn't necessarily hold up for 8+ hour routes.
 

jb747

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I recall someone who was flying a 767 from the UK to Singapore with well over 300 seats. I thought the 230 or so on ours was squeezy.
 

moa999

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More than a couple of airlines (BA and Korean) have in their A380s!

Remember the 330 cabin is narrower than the 787, so it's narrow at 3-3-3 as I can attest having flown a similar product on AirAsiaX.
 

jakeseven7

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Cebu’s 459-seater A330neo: density beyond “greige”




The article has a link to a youtube video showing off the cabin in all it's ludicrous-mode dense glory. I do like the decor, but those seats are *super* narrow, and apparently "pre-reclined". Given these are going to be used for Cebu's longer routes (inc. MEL and SYD), you'll need to be lithe to survive. Reminds me very much of Air Caribes 3-4-3 A350s :/ Much as reducing the cost of travel is undeniably "A Good Thing", I do feel we are getting to the point where regulation is needed to ensure seats are fit for purpose, and passengers get a realistic amount of usable space on longer flights. What might be acceptable and tolerable for a 2-3-hour short hop doesn't necessarily hold up for 8+ hour routes.

No overweight people would venture near this…
 

exceladdict

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459 pax will make the onboard fun-quiz-prize competition a bit more heated. I wonder if they do it on long haul.
 
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459 pax will make the onboard fun-quiz-prize competition a bit more heated. I wonder if they do it on long haul.

Cebu use their CEO A330s on the MNL-MEL and MNL-SYD runs, so I suspect we will indeed be seeing this roll into town... should be fun!

More than a couple of airlines (BA and Korean) have in their A380s!

Remember the 330 cabin is narrower than the 787, so it's narrow at 3-3-3 as I can attest having flown a similar product on AirAsiaX.

Yeah I must admit I've done 3-3-3 on AirAsia X as well, though I think a big difference was their 32" seat pitch did go some way to making it more tolerable. Cebu have 30" in the current A330s with 436pax, so the NEO is prob going to be even tighter. AirAsia X soft service also helps, food and crew always left me with a good impression, one of the few economy airline meals I genuinely look forward to...That said I was a lot younger and more flexible at the time, and the longest I ever did with them was PER-KUL (just over 5hr30) so I'm not sure I'd do it now, and esp my other half has given me way more appreciation for the awfulness of super high density configurations for bigger passengers.
 

dajop

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Somehow whilst these birds will be used for the AU market they’re probably more targetted at shorter slimmer individuals than the majority of Australians. Very useful for the worker express flights to the Middle East.
 

Melburnian1

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I’d be curious to see an evacuation test with that sort of loading.

That was also my first thought. Not recently, but I have been on 5J overnight from Manila to Sydney. Staff were fine but seats were not comfortable.

Would CASA or other 'Western' regulators approve this seating density?
 
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jb747

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That was also my first thought. Not recently, but I have been on 5J overnight from Manila to Sydney. Staff were fine but seats were not comfortable.

Would CASA or other 'Western' regulators approve this seating density?
One of the great myths of airline operations is that the various regulatory authorities look at anyone flying into their country, i.e. so and so fly to Oz, so CASA must have looked at them, so they must be okay.

With very few exceptions, regulators look at their own airlines, and that’s it.
 
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That was also my first thought. Not recently, but I have been on 5J overnight from Manila to Sydney. Staff were fine but seats were not comfortable.

Would CASA or other 'Western' regulators approve this seating density?

The cynic in me would assume that EASA would (in the case of the A330neo) as it would help Airbus demonstrate the "flexibility" of their aircraft, as thus benefit a major European industry. I'd assume that the FAA would do the same with, say, the 787 for exactly the same reason for a major American industry. They would also mutually sign off on the "other sides" model, due to fear of retaliation, and other countries would just follow the lead of either the EASA or FAA (since most countries tend to try and align their regulatory systems with either the EU or NAFTA for things that it makes economic sense to do so, or are so technical and complex - i.e. aviation - that re-inventing that particular wheel is just futile).
 

jb747

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Any testing will be done by Airbus and Boeing, to whatever seating level they’re trying to sell it to. I don’t think they’re the ones who came up with this stupid idea.

In any event, I’d like to see the test made more realistic. So, load it will people off the street, of all ages. Put bags containing $1 million in cash over each seat and tell people they can keep any they manage to remove. Lock half of the doors closed. Set fire to it. Realism.
 
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