A Herringbone seating arrangement describes the positioning of seats partially and equally askew in one direction. As the name suggests, the arrangement of the seats looks very similar to the skeleton of a fish, and has been called "fish-bone seats" in a few languages.
Herringbone seating is increasingly being adopted in the first and business class section of airlines, including Air Canada (767 and A330), Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific (being phased out with newer Sicma Cirrus seat), Delta Air Lines, Qantas, Jet Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Herringbone seats may also include ottomans, and some have the ability to convert into a full flat bed. Herringbone seating allows all passengers to have direct access to an aisle, and provides increased privacy. However passenger access to a window may be limited. To maintain cost economies airlines may compromise seat width for seat length, leading some passengers to feel as if their seats are narrow, claustophobic cubicles.
Virgin Atlantic filed a lawsuit against the seat manufacturer, Contour Aerospace, and airlines that have purchased and installed herringbone seats in their aircraft. Virgin Atlantic claims that they own the patent to the seats and that the other airlines have violated it.
Reverse Herringbone Seating is similar to Herringbone, but the ottoman faces the window rather than the aisle. it is now being adapted by Cathay Pacific, Air Canada (777 and 787), American Airlines (777-300ER and 787), China Eastern Airlines (Boeing 777-300ER and some A330-200s), Delta Air Lines (Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200ER/LR, and Airbus A330-200/300), and EVA Air (777-300ER).
Staggered Herringbone seating is used for narrower bodied aircraft and has the top side section of one seat touching the top of another seat.
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