For a typical no-frills airline using a three-aisle-three layout, at economy class density, what is the maximum possible occupancy which maintains a distance of at least two meters between each passenger?

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    Surely this depends on the airline's seat configuration on the particular aircraft, and in some cases on the individual aircraft. In any case, airlines are not seating people according to social distancing guidelines; some have made announcements that they are blocking middle seats, but this is to improve public relations, not public health.If you look at SeatGuru or one of its competitors for the aircraft you are interested in, it's easy enough to work out. – choster May 5 at 21:28
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    @lambshaanxy Seat pitch is the distance from any point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it, inclusive of the seat itself. – choster May 5 at 21:59
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    I think people are overthinking it - there is enough wiggle room in row measurements that any calculation to move an actual passenger 5 inches forward or back to fit in an actual layout isnt going to fundamentally change the back-of-a-napkin calculations - I might be one or 2 passengers off with my calculations in my answer, but at the end of the day that accuracy doesnt matter – Moo May 5 at 22:01
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    A good follow on question to this is "how much would a ticket on an airline enforcing 2 meter social distancing actually cost?" because that social distancing isnt going to be done at pre-Covid19 prices. The days of budget airlines would be over - a $90 ticket will now be $450. – Moo May 5 at 22:15
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    (+1) Interesting question but why exactly two meters? I vaguely recall there are some pre-Covid19 guidelines on infectious disease contact tracing but I am not sure what the distance was. Regarding Covid-19, 6 feet seems to be the usual recommendation in North America but I have seen other distances elsewhere (1 m in France and Italy, 1.5 m in Germany). It could be interesting to explore a range of scenarios. – Relaxed May 5 at 22:35

The A320 has a maximum cabin width of 3.7 meters and cabin length of 27.5 meters, so with a requirement of 2 meters between passengers, that means 2 passengers per row, and an average of 13 populated rows, so ... 26 passengers.

The layout above would consist of two passengers in window seats on the populated rows.

If you want to juggle it around a bit more, you might be able to fit an additional passenger in the unpopulated row and meet the 2 meter exclusion zone, which would give you an additional 13 passengers.

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    It could probably accommodate more with a staggered "knights move" or "honeycomb" seating arrangement perhaps with only one person on the occupied rows and by not wasting space using only the window seats. – Weather Vane May 6 at 10:32
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    And you won't be able to achieve 13 occupied rows, because that would mean some people are only seperated by one row, because of non-ideal row layout. Looking at easyjets config, the best you can manage with the square pattern is 11/12, depending on the exact width of the overwing emergency exit. So potentially only 21 is possible. – user1937198 May 6 at 13:06
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    However, depending on the seat dimensions and aisle width what might work is a four row repeating pattern of ailse+ window occupied, empty row, window+ailse seat, empty row. Which would achieve 31 passengers. – user1937198 May 6 at 13:17
  • Everyone seems to be assuming that it's only singles flying. I'd guess at least 1/3 would be couples or families. – mkennedy May 6 at 21:37
  • @mkennedy in which case the question is unanswerable. A family bubble of 150 people flying together is different to a cabin full of single people. – Moo May 6 at 22:51

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