Table vs. Facing vs. Airline + other proposals: what is the correct balance?

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by py_megapixel, 10 Dec 2019.

  1. py_megapixel

    py_megapixel Member

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    As far as I can tell there are three layouts of seat in use on the network:
    • Airline seats- where the seat faces the back of the seat in front
    • Table seats- where the seat faces a table, and then another seat facing the opposite way
    • Facing seats without tables - where the seat faces another seat but with no table inbetween.

    Many people around this forum appear to be in favour of a train layout where most, if not all, seats
    are table seats. But many people travelling alone prefer the privacy of an airline seat (although when not well-designed these can lack legroom and the seat-back tables can be too small).

    So, what do members think is, practically, the best balance between table seats, facing seats without a table, and airline-style seats?
     
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  3. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Prefer , more a 60 to 40 split in favour of airline . I like my privacy , to chill . I can see why people like tables . The bay of 2 tables seem awkward in first class. Different for different people. rather not on a long journey sit oppositye someone. On short journeys i dont mind.
     
  4. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    Interesting one this - for short trips (if I can be bothered), I'll do an airline seat. For longer ones I'll do a window table seat unless there's a good reason for booking an airline seat.

    If I'm honest, the CrossCountry HST and Class 80x fleets have a sensible seating layout - plenty of seats (80x when 9 or 10 coaches) but enough table seats.
     
    Last edited: 10 Dec 2019
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    A reasonable split, with seats that line up with windows; switching seating style and either adding luggage storage or having sensible amounts of legroom to make adjustments to keep the seats lined up where necessary.
     
  6. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I'm normally using a laptop and it's very difficult to do so in any airline seat I've tried except Eurostar. Mentioned on another thread that 80x are better for this but I've yet to use one. I see plenty of other people doing this too, so I'd also vote for a mix but the proportion of tables needs to be higher on trains where the airline seats are too closely packed to open a laptop up properly.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The best layout in my view is the original Class 158 one, fully window aligned and roughly half table-airline with a table bay alternating with two rows of airline seats.

    An advantage of this is that you can give the table the window and both pillars and the airlines just a window width, as the latter need less space due to the lack of gap between the seat backs.

    First Class is more difficult, as "tables for two" and single airline seats are both highly prized.
     
  8. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    I seem to remember that someone (I don't know who) did some market research, and came up with the result that about a third of passengers prefer airline seats, a third prefer bays (with tables) and the rest aren't bothered either way. So as long as you have at least a third of each, and enough of them, you're probably okay.

    A 50/50 mix has some merit. Not least because you can use the trick that the 158 designers used to line up all the seats with windows. Two pairs of airline seats need slightly more space than a bay, so you can fit the bay into the space of a window, and the airline seats into the space of one window plus two partitions.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's the other way round. The airline seats need less space, not more, as there isn't about 8" wasted between seat backs.
     
  10. alxndr

    alxndr Member

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    I'd only use a table seat when travelling with at least one other. 40/60 at the very most for them.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I use them if I want to use my laptop or eat more food than will fit on a small seat back table, particularly on something like a 156 with Chapman seating where it's basically just a coffee shelf.

    I also tend to go for the extra legroom table at the cab end of 350s, it's so well spaced that there is zero risk of a game of kneesie or footsie. Far, far better than the First Class in those units - and indeed it is the First Class on 360s - I suspect it was designed for that.
     
  12. Mitchell Hurd

    Mitchell Hurd Member

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    On GWR's Class 387's (haven't been on other operators ones), the best table seat to go for (without, as Bletchleyite says, playing kneesie or footsie), if you don't mind the direction of travel, is one of the 2 located diagonally across from the wheelchair spaces but behind the disabled toilet. First Class legroom this has.

    There's a similar (but more comfortable as it's a First Class) seat on the CrossCountry HST's. Sit in seat number 4 in Coach A and you'll see what I mean. The floor across from the wheelchair space is actually for luggage according to the seating layout and a member of staff said this when I was in Coach A on this train (11:17 from Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads on the 18/02/19).
     
  13. Tug

    Tug Member

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    I always try & sit at a table as I never have enough leg room with airline seats. It works OK if anyone sitting opposite sits on the "other" seat so that we are not facing each other. If someone sits opposite me we play footsie.

    My impression on GA trains is that one of the facing table seats is the passenger preferred seat and that they go much more quickly than the passenger preferences stated above would suggest.

    Drop down tables are useless as the hinge point is below my knee level.
     
  14. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Are you about 7' tall? :lol:
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Member

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    No & I have exactly the same problem with tables in aircraft to the extent that I cannot put a meal tray or drink on them & nobody in front of me reclines their seat.

    Part of the problem is that as my knees are hard in the back of the seat in front I don't think it helps with the table.
     
  16. Devonian

    Devonian Member

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    From travelling in the Great Western region while First and Cross Country have tried various different combinations, I'd reckon that at least 1/3 table seats is needed in standard class on intercity and regional express services.

    First's HSTs with 10 tables per carriage (just over 1/2 table seats) were refurbished to have either two (1/10) or four (1/5) per carriage, and neither was enough to satisfy groups and families. The later first>standard conversions, and the new IETs, brought eight tables per carriage, which seem to work better. The original Great Western Trains also introduced one 'Family Carriage' per train which was 4/5 table seats, and I can see the merits of that.

    Losing six tables in a Mk3 carriage added four extra seats, but also lost 'wasted' (but useful) low-level space for luggage and litter bins between seat backs. A mix of tables and airline seats also reduces the sense of crowding in a carriage: even if you are in a high-backed airline seat, if there is a table across the aisle you will have better sightlines to a large area of window in your peripheral vision which will make your seat feel less claustrophobic.

    As for first class, the solitary passenger appreciates the solo airline seat with a decent table, whilst two people travelling together probably don't appreciate being sat one behind the other, so I'd reckon that you still need a mix of solo and table-for-two. Particulary if (ahem, GWR) you try to offer a restaurant experience. Perhaps the rotating seat should make a reappearance on British trains.
     
  17. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    There is a fourth type: airline with an actual (half) table. Rare, but can be found in coach A of Class 390 Pendolinos.
     
  18. xotGD

    xotGD Established Member

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    I prefer a table seat, so 100% table seats would be best for me, to maximise my chance of getting one.
     
  19. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Tables are all well and fine but there just isn't the space to stretch your legs out if someone is sitting opposite.
     
  20. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    I'm quite disappointed that some new trains have hardly any airline seats in them at all, such as the TPE Mark 5s. On busy trains, I really don't like tables, and much prefer the privacy and legroom of airline.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I have an issue with this on planes and InterCity 70 seats, but not others - modern stock typically has them higher up. If you can't use the ones on say Chapman seats you either must be 7' tall or have an abnormally long lower leg :)
     
  22. westv

    westv Established Member

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    well it's not the former so I'm guessing it's looooong legs.
     
  23. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

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    If I'm travelling on my own I will always go for an airline seat because of privacy and being able to stretch my legs out. If in a group of 2 or more, then a table seat. Facing seats without tables are the least attractive option for me.
     
  24. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Can someone please explain to me how an airline seat can provide privacy when someone can sit in the seat next to you? Or are you the type of person who puts their bag on that chair and glares at anyone who attempts to sit there?

    Personally I prefer a facing, window, table seat as I am either working on the laptop or have something to read that doesn't fit well in an airline seat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Dec 2019
  25. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    If there are two of you, or the train is lightly loaded, it works quite well.
     
  26. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Exactly you get 7 rows of airline for every 6 rows of facing seats.
    Airline means more seats.
     
  27. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    It's people sitting facing me that I don't like, plus there's less legroom in those situations. People can sit next to you at tables too, then you end up with someone next to AND opposite you.

    Anyway, I've generally found that people will only sit next to you in an airline seat if the train is getting very full anyway, with no unoccupied pairs of seats.
     
  28. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    However if properly designed the places where the seats are back-to-back can be used for luggage. For bags that are too big to go on the luggage rack, people prefer to keep them in sight rather than leave them on a shelf near the door where they could easily be stolen.
     
  29. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    I can't stand table or facing seats, they hurt my legs as I can't strech out
     
  30. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    It's not wasted if it provides luggage space that might otherwise either
    (a) not exist or
    (b) be so remote as to render the secuirity "keep your luggage with you at all times" message meaningless or
    c) has to be provided elsewhere in the carriage in a space that might otherwse have a seat in it
    and/or if it is occupied by above-floor equipment.

    Airline seats are OK in my view as long as the pitch is sufficient (which it often isn't) and the seat backs aren't so high as to destroy any hope of a view (other than of the seat back in front of you). Window alignment would be a factor if I had any choice, eg in whose train to use.
     
  31. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Always an airline by choice. I find sitting opposite people at tables very awkward. There's always that chance they are desperate to start up a conversation & have no social awareness as to when they are boring me senseless.
     

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