If you really want to compare apples to apples, take the plane out of the equation and compare the same planes sharing the same markets, with different seats.
The whole discussion was always about seat width. But as "narrow seats" are much more often found in 787 and 777 cabins and "wider seats" much more often in A330, A350, A380, you have to forgive, that people frequently use 787 and 777 as synonym from cramped cabins. But principally you are correct, the discussion is not about planes, but about seat width.
It's not just Boeing airlines putting 17"ish seats in their aircraft. There are 330 operators who have 17.5", or smaller, seats as standard. If you really want to compare apples to apples, take the plane out of the equation and compare the same planes sharing the same markets, with different seats.
KLM and Lufthansa have 17-17.5" seats on their 330's and 340's. Now Air France has 18" seats. These airlines share lots of routes so there is no argument about people being forced to choose tortuous 17 inch seats over luxurious 18" seats.
So why not dig up the load factor differences between similar aircraft on similar routes and compare how those load factors differ in regards to seat width?
If 18" economy seats were such a critical metric for economy travellers...I would think that KLM and Lufthansa would have long ago been put out of business by AF...yet, decades later...here they are.
And they are not the only 330 flying airlines that chose, long ago, to use smaller than 18" seats in their 330's when they all had the choice of seat width when configuring their aircraft.
So please enough with the bullsh*t about seat width. Either come up with some real world data, or shut the hell up about it.
Seat width is not a discriminator a passenger could choose in any of the examples. Tons of important other factors (that are different in the examples you mention) make it impossible to judge the impact of the seat width. If you would want to probe really the impact of seat width on the financial bottom line of an airline, you would have to compare cases where:
- Both fly the same route, same time
- Same price
- Basically every other factor, that might influence the buying behavior of a passenger would need to be the same
- And, very important, the available seat dimensions would have to be made transparent to the passenger
Only then we could judge the impact of narrow seats based on "real world data". But, as this is realistically not possible, you have to live without such evidence. Which means, you have to live with the seat width discussion as longs as somebody else might have other preferences than you.
Read e.g. pax comments here: click!
. People are saying things like "With the change to the 3-4-3 configuration across, 1.5 inch less in width and up to 2 inch less in leg room, I'm close to hating flying on Air Canada." Lots of such subjective feedback is all we'll ever get. But there is no "real world" evidence, that narrow seats don't hurt the airlines, as you seem to say. At least not from the broad examples you have given.
As for the extra 4" Boeing is adding to the interior of the 77X, who says it's going to seat width?
After all, airlines get more advantage out of wider aisles than wider seats.
Only if they stop listening to pax feedback and don't care about condemning seat width comments and ratings in the online media. There is some evidence however, that both of these things are not happening, which means you are wrong.