When we discuss the cabin of an aircraft, we generally refer to the number of passengers it can hold, but rarely its floor area. However, even though the number of seats can vary, depending on the cabin layout, its floor area remains identical. Considering the aircraft cabin in terms of floor area therefore provides us with a real sense of its size.
In an Airbus A350 (-900) for example, the cabin has an area of 2,900 ft2 (270 m2), the equivalent of one and a half tennis courts, that of the Boeing 787 (-9) is slightly less with 2,780 ft2 (258 m2).
Taking into account the list price of these aircraft, and here we draw a parallel with the real estate market, this represents a price per square foot, of just over 100,000 dollars. This is 75 times more expensive than the average price in Hong Kong, where the world’s highest real estate prices are to be found - but an airliner of course has many other advantages over an apartment.
Finally, the cabin floor area of a short-haul such as an A320, or a Boeing 737, lies somewhere between 860 ft2 and 1,080 ft2 (80 m2 and 100 m2), whereas that of a jumbo (nowadays more often referred to as a ‘‘wide-body’’), like the B747, is almost 5,170 ft2 (480 m2), and the A380’s combined two decks exceeds 5,900 ft2 (550 m2).