The middle seats on some aircraft are getting wider
The middle seat of any row in coach class, with the exception of an exit row, is probably the most dreaded seat for a passenger traveling alone. Canada's Bombardier has developed the CS-100 aircraft with a nice perk for those finding themselves "stuck" in one of those seats. The middle seat of each row is actually the widest seat – in some cases up to two inches wider than what other airlines offer in economy.
The CS-100 aircraft falls somewhere between the largest regional jets and the smallest full-sized narrow-body jets. The aircraft can hold between 108 and 133 passengers and features an interior that is more closely associated with a larger jet. Regional jets often have three seats across in a 1-2 configuration, or four seats across in a 2-2 configuration. The CS-100 will have five seats across in a 2-3 configuration, making it similar to the Boeing MD-80 jets (formerly McDonnel-Douglas MD-80). Falling between a large regional jet and a small full-sized jet is fitting because the middle is the big selling point for passengers who might actually fit more comfortably in a center seat over an aisle or window seat on this jet.
At 18.5 inches (47cm), the window and aisle seats on the CS-100 are just about the same width, even slightly wider, than those found on Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. The 19-inch center seat in each row is up to two inches wider than many economy seats flying today. The interior also features taller lavatories and larger overhead bins. Swiss International Air Lines, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines are among the earliest customers of the CS-100 or its yet-to-be delivered larger sibling, the CS-300.
There is not much to rejoice about the middle seat in most economy class aircraft. Being squeezed between two other passengers and having to negotiate the shared elbow and arm space with neighbors makes the fear of boarding last even more pronounced. However, if airlines start to find some way to make the seat more appealing by offering greater comfort, two inches can go a long way toward making flying more equitable in coach class. Just don't expect everyone to suddenly be darting for the middle seat until passengers have their say.