Seat configuration

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joefremont
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Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Thu Jan 12, 2023 2:28 am

This is something I have been thinking about for some time, the basic change in this is that airline seats are not free. They cost money and take time to change on an aircraft.

Aircraft would fall into three categories, Standard, Convertible and Foldable.

Standard seat aircraft are just normal aircraft.

Convertible seat aircraft are aircraft where seats can be quickly added or removed, but each seat installed reduces the cargo capacity of the aircraft.

Foldable seat aircraft are aircraft with seats that fold up and remain on the aircraft.

The basic cost of seats are:

Economy:
Cost: 10,000 v$
Weight: 20kg/44 lbs

Business:
Cost: 30,000 v$,
Weight: 40kg/88 lbs

First Class:
Cost 90,000 v$
Weight: 80kg/172 lbs

When a new aircraft is purchased the base price will not include the seats, you will be able to select the seats at purchase time.

The DOW of the aircraft listed in the database will assume all seats are installed, if fewer seats are installed the system will calculate an new effective DOW, so if the A320 Neo with a listed DOW of 44300 with 220 passengers, if only 200 economy seats are installed the effective DOW for the aircraft will be 43900 kg (44300 kg - 20 fewer seats * 20 kg for economy seats ). That same A320 with no seats installed would have a DOW of 39900 kg.

If you want to change the seat configuration, you will specify how many of each type you want to add or remove. For seats removed you can either store them in a warehouse if you have one at that airport or sell them back to the system for 50% the purchase price. For seats being added, if you have some seats stored in a local warehouse you can pull them out else you can purchase them from the system. If you are exchanging seats from your warehouse there will be a small labor charge for the workers (say 100$ per seat changed).

The time involved will be somewhere between one hour and one day depending on the number of seats, have not worked out a formula yet.

The value of the aircraft will be adjusted by the value of the seats, based on the price you can sell them back to the system.

For convertible seat aircraft it is basically the same as above except

- The cost to add/remove a seat is only 10$ per seat instead of 100$ but they will still have to be stored in a warehouse.
- There is no time delay in changing seats (instant).
- The seats in convertible aircraft are not compatible with seats from standard aircraft and cost 10% more.

Foldable seat aircraft are aircraft with seats that fold up and remain on the aircraft, typically they will be pre defined as a predefined single class level (first/business/economy). You don't have to worry about seat configuration here, it is assumed that if there are fewer passengers than seats the others are folded away. Most piston and turboprops with fewer than 8 passengers will fall into this category.

I had also considered to include new seat types, premium or basic economy, ultra premium first class ect, but the problem I would have is that currently the system keeps track of a separate pool of passengers for each of the three classes, and how to figure out how many passengers would be willing to fly with each seat type when there are lots of them, including scenarios where a passenger would prefer one type but would be willing to do something else close was a bit too much.

It occurred to me in writing this that right now only airlines using advanced finance can build warehouses, which would prevent gold accounts from being able to swap seats in and out on convertible aircraft, so as part of this proposal we will allow any airline to build an office or warehouse, but maintenance centers will still be restricted.
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Cat
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Fri Jan 13, 2023 9:15 pm

convertible jets like the 737-700C usually have seat "blocks" mounted on pallets (that lock into the freight pallet system) which is how they can pull them so quickly vs one seat section at a time. So having those seats being able to be changed "instantly" is a good idea.

Overall I think it is an excellent system and will make airline operators do some thinking as to how they are going to configure their new aircraft.

One question though regarding the Trader List for used aircraft: Will there be a seat config chart showing on used aircraft going forward and those aircraft are sold "as is" or will they be gutted at the sales office and the buyer has to install seats as in new ones? I would think the latter would be the way to go - selling used aircraft as "shells" and the buyer adding seats to choice as a real world airline would undoubtedly not take a used aircraft "as is" without some refurbishment before being put into service.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Fri Jan 13, 2023 10:28 pm

Also in the new rewrite of the program, I would suggest bumping up economy seating prices another 50% as right now there is no incentive to haul masses as an airplane can make more with biz/first by hauling the extra cargo, than it can with an economy section. If an airplane has say 100 seats and we take 10 first 10 biz and 40 economy, the airplane will make less than taking 12 first and 26 biz because the weight of those economy passengers can now be opened up for greater cargo carrying while still making the same in ticket revenue.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Sat Jan 14, 2023 1:37 am

Hi Sam,

This will not be a rewrite of the seats system, which is the reason we will still just have the three types, to add things like basic or premium economy that would require a rewrite and that is a bit more than I want to do right now. Right now, for each airport the system keeps a count of each waiting passenger type, about 4% are first, 12% are business and 84% are economy. The idea being that if airlines fly with just first or business class those pools will run out but there will still be the other classes left. Right now looking at the numbers for recent flights they are pretty close to those percents.

It was my intention that for aircraft being sold they would be as is, you currently have a link to the aircraft info page where the seat configuration can be seen. Clearing out the seats on sale? I can see some advantages but at the same time lots of complaints as to why they are not getting any passengers but if we had the same seat configuration screen for when we purchase new aircraft when old aircraft are sold it would work. Buy aircraft from the system would make sense, it already clears out the fuel, but we may want to give airlines selling a choice.

It just occurred to me that leased aircraft may be an issue, if someone leases an aircraft with a given seat configuration it would need to be the same when returned or not allowed to change. Or would leasers always be required to buy seats?
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Sat Jan 14, 2023 1:58 am

Not allowed to change a lease plane would be my call. The person leasing knows what they are getting at the time of the lease. This would allow lease companies to offer the same aircraft in different configurations.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Sun Jan 15, 2023 5:40 pm

Sam, one thing you suggested, about adjusting the ticket revenue to make economy more profitable, right now the ticket revenue for economy/business/first is 1x/2x/4x which is the same as the space ratios for each seat. It would not be hard to change those ratios to 1x/1.95x/3.8x so each seat level is 95% more rather than 100% more. Most airlines will not notice the difference and the change can be done behind the scenes. Just an idea.

On a side note, I did a quick search to see what the ratios would be on real world flight, New York to Europe. I had to try three airlines United/British Airways and American Airlines before I could find one that had all three classes. United had business but no first, BA had first but no Business, American did here are the ratios on one flight:

Basic Econ 85%
Econ 100%
Premium Econ 148%
Business 283%
First 576%

Does not mean anything, of course I am not planning on adding the additional econ classes.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Mon Jan 16, 2023 2:02 am

interesting data, thanks for doing the research .... For our purposes, I was just trying to figure out how to make ecomony seats worth the bother because at most major airports, one will always fill up a typical 737/A320 with nothing but biz/first. And we can make the same in ticket revenue with less payload weight, thus being able to add more cargo and make more money overall.

I have noticed through trial and error, if one changes the pax or cargo limits in Charter Flight booking, it does NOT add additional cargo space if you set pax to 0. You have to do that in the seating configuration prior to booking the flight. :idea:
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Mon Jan 16, 2023 9:18 pm

As far as packages, the system does not allow you to load packages above what the installed seats would allow, assuming the seats were filled. It is true you can set the passenger limit on a flight, but what about the next flight? Rather than having to deal with flights that are overloaded with packages because a previous flight had a passenger limit but the current one does not, we limit packages based on the installed seats, and of course you can't change the seat configuration if there are packages in the cargo hold.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Wed Jan 18, 2023 2:55 am

Not just packages, works the same with generic cargo too and makes sense.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by stigooo » Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:42 am

Sounds really good.
I would be happy if it was implemented in this way. that will definitely make it even more exciting.

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Re: Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Mon Jan 23, 2023 5:30 pm

Been thinking about this more in terms of the 'foldable' seats and packages.

For aircraft with standard seats, the system will reserve enough space in the cargo bay so that you can safely load a passenger in every seat with there baggage on the aircraft and you can't change the seat configuration if there are packages onboard. That way you can't overload the aircraft, but if its a foldable seat either you can't load packages because potentially a passenger might go into that seat

or I have to implement some creative logic in the booking system to not allow passengers if there are already packages on the AC and not allow packages if the flight is booked and there are passengers assigned,

or we make the pilot change the seat configuration before booking the flight. No time or cost or seats to keep track of but you still have to go in and change the config.
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by Cat » Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:14 pm

I'd vote make the pilot change the seating configuration prior to booking - KIS with the logic in the system which is probably way too complex already. :shock:
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Re: Seat configuration

Post by joefremont » Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:15 pm

Cat wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:14 pm
I'd vote make the pilot change the seating configuration prior to booking - KIS with the logic in the system which is probably way too complex already. :shock:
I agree, keep it consistent.
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