Why does Boeing so fear the CS300? For one thing, Boeing is about to deliver the ultimate sardine-can in the form of its 737MAX-10 = The Secret to Getting a Good Airline Seat: Book a Better Airplane
For another, there is the report on the CS300 delivered by Aviation Week when Fred George, its seasoned test pilot, flew it through its paces
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The Secret to Getting a Good Airline Seat: Book a Better Airplane
By CLIVE IRVING.
With U.S. carriers holding back on replacing fleets of ageing jalopies, look for a jet that has a cabin with seats that can't be shrunk.
I asked my wife to measure the width of my backside, standing. Fourteen inches. Of course, people do not normally take a tape measure to their anatomy and, if they do, it's better that it be done discreetly by an intimate rather than a stranger.
But these days there is a need to know how you measure up not just in inches but fractions of an inch because there is a piece of personal space being sold to you that has been pared down to intolerable dimensions – the space sold to you by airlines.
I speak not simply of the seat, although that is the physical object that you pay for, but the space that comes with the seat. The airline is also selling you a tiny piece of real estate between your seat and the next, as well as the air around and above you – the importance of which is seldom noted. Everything about this allotment of space has been decided scientifically with a punitive rigor worthy of a coffin maker.
The chair that I occupy every day as I write is 19 inches wide. It has been carefully sculpted with adjustable lumbar support for this purpose. Without getting too vivid that 14-inch girth changes when I sit. There is spread. That spread comfortably settles within the 19 inches. Nobody is yet offering a coach seat that wide.
I have been flying on airlines since 1958. I have sat in every iteration of the airline seat since then. I have seen cabin comforts get progressively better as the airplanes themselves have become progressively better – faster, quieter and much safer. In that time, and I think much to the world's advantage, air travel has gone from being a rare and expensive privilege to becoming a mass transit system.
This could not have happened without a fundamental change in the transaction between the airline and the passenger. You can't offer the prices of a mass transit system and at the same time provide the comforts of a luxury limousine. Most passengers get that. I can now fly the Atlantic for a fraction of the 1958 price, in real terms, and I don't expect the caviar and champagne served to me on that first flight (paid for, I should explain, by my generous employer).
Even so, I have never seen anything to equal the treatment now dished out to passengers by the major American carriers. There comes a point where providing great value for money moves a step further to chiseling the customer with a lousy deal - and they are now surely well beyond that point.
Delta has also annoyed Boeing by placing a huge order for what is a rare phenomenon: an airplane designed from the start to give coach passengers a big break in comforts, the Canadian Bombardier CS300.
When Delta ordered more than 300 of these Boeing began an anti-dumping action against Bombardier because they cut Delta a below-cost deal to get the order. As the airline analysis group Flight Global said, "this is the most back-handed compliment one manufacturer can pay another." It was also nakedly hypocritical: Boeing gave United a 73 percent discount on a large order for their 737.Why does Boeing so fear the CS300?