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Why Don’t Commercial Jets Have Seating on Two or More Levels (Like the Boeing 747)?

A commercial jet liner flying.

The use of two or more levels for seating on a commercial jet might sound like a great plan. After all, commercial airlines want to maximize the efficiency of airplanes and allow for more travel. This is achievable when using commercial airplanes like the Boeing 747, but on commercial jets there is a limit to the levels of seating.

Why is this, considering that the only main difference between these two types of aircraft is the speed at which they travel?

What is a Commercial Jet

Commercial jets are aircraft that are propelled by jet engines. The propeller-powered aircraft is capable of achieving speeds above the speed of sound. The speed of sound is faster than the speed of speech, which depends on air waves for carrying the noise.

With a commercial jet, the speed of sound is reached only once the jet travels at an extreme rate of speed to exceed the speed of sound in air.

This speed is registered at one mile in 4.7 seconds at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the same as 767.269 miles per hour or 343 meters per second. The temperature plays a major factor in determining at which speed a commercial jet must travel to reach the speed of sound. For example, at 32 degrees F, a commercial jet must achieve 740.426 miles per hour or 221 meters per second.

The commercial jet is best suited for luxury travel where price is not a concern. This is because it takes a lot more ingenuity and fire power to get to this speed when flying. Commercial jets do include the popular Boeing 747, which is famous for being the first twin aisle airliner.

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Also known as a Jumbo Jet, this airplane is the world’s first widebody style made for commercial flights and to hold many passengers. The plane also has two decks for passengers, making it the first on that account as well. But this is pretty much the only plane in this style, and why is that so?

Historically, the Boeing 747 has had a lot of negative press due to crashes. There have been at least 61 of these planes that were downed by accidents, and there have been at least 3,722 deaths as a result of these plane crashes. While this sounds like a lot, there are actually more fatal crashes due to the Boeing 737 and Boeing DC9 in comparison to the 747.

So there could be a connection between fatal crashes and the lack of multi-level passenger planes in the commercial jet sector. But maybe not, considering the popularity of the Boeing 747 for commercial airlines.

Seating on Commercial Jets

Airplane interior with passengers on board.

The seating on a commercial jet is also going to have a role in why there aren’t more double-decker or triple-level planes in this high-speed category. Mainly, this comes down to the way the commercial jet must travel in order to achieve the speed of sound. The fuselage and body of the plane, as well as the overall size and weight, must not be over the limit.

This will slow down the jet and reduce its capacity to reach that high rate of speed that is demanded. As a result, commercial jets are not going to be traveling at nearly as many levels–simply due to a weight limit.

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You cannot go overweight, and that’s exactly what would happen if you doubled the number of people flying on an aircraft. As a result, commercial jets maximize on other areas so they can maintain an expenditure and flight log. The passengers aboard commercial jets expect to have luxurious and spacious accommodations.

These aircraft feature full beds for passengers to sleep on and recline in the air. This is unheard of in the world of commercial aircraft, where the more people buy tickets, the better.

On a commercial airplane that is domestic, in the US for example, you are stuck in a seat that is very slim and often without a recline feature on your seat. You also get no food or have limited ability to order items as you would pre-Corona. This results in a difference in the overall customer base.

The people paying to fly commercial are simply at a higher degree of expectations than those aboard a private commercial jet.

That is another thing, the privacy factor. Commercial jets are small and efficient at going fast, so that passengers do not have to stay on the plane for very long. The speed of sound is super sonic, and these passengers have to be on the ground and on route to their destination just as quickly.

They are paying for speed and efficiency. Additionally, passengers are able to book private flights as a result of the low number of seats per commercial jet. Some jets have as few as 10 seats, including beds, which requires the ticket and seat price to be a lot higher.

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This is a result of having fewer passengers on a jet, but it also shows the appeal and popularity of choosing a small seated, supersonic method of travel.

Seating on Double-Deck Aircrafts

A large double decker airplane.

There are planes that provide double-deck seating, but not many in the commercial world. The double-deck aircraft allow passengers to sit on the upper level. The lower level is reserved for luggage for passengers.

In order to provide enough space for passengers to sit on two levels, a commercial aircraft must actually have three levels. A good example of this type of commercial airliner is the double-deck jet airliner called the Airbus A380.

This airplane was in service as of 2007 and used the lower level for cargo and luggage, while there are two upper levels for passengers. The airlines that operate this wide-body airliner include Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Qantas. That’s right, you won’t find this type of three-level commercial airplane in the US domestically.

It features this particular layout to accommodate overseas travelers and luxury fliers.

Commercial Jets Must Stay Slim

Commercial airplane interior, lights on.

The bottom line, a lot of commercial jets would never have a double-deck or triple-level for passengers. This is because of weight and due to the overcrowding of the plane cabin, which would alter the luxurious experience of traveling by private jet. The cost of flying a supersonic jet is already greater than that of operating a commercial airplane due to the equipment and technology.

Having to cramp more people on a commercial jet for any reason would technically prohibit the jet from getting off the ground.

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