Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: which is the best commercial plane in the world?

  • The Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 are the most-produced commercial planes
  • Despite being quite similar each has its own pros and cons
  • Let’s compare these planes based on size, range, speed, etc

Published on May 07, 2024 at 2:58 PM (UTC+4)
by Nalin Rawat

Last updated on May 07, 2024 at 2:58 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: which is the best commercial plane in the world?

Both the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 are among the best-selling commercial planes in the world.

However, which one is the best commercial plane?

At a simple glance, both planes seem quite normal with nothing special to rave about.

But there’s a reason why they are the most produced commercial planes in the world.

READ MORE! The world’s largest airplane factory Boeing Mega Factory is a plane lover’s paradise

Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: what’s the best commercial plane?

The Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 plus their variations are the world’s leading narrowbody jets.

Although they may lack the comfort of Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, they are still a crucial part of the majority of airline fleets worldwide.  

Even if you travel by air very rarely, chances are you are going to set foot in one of these aircraft at least once in your life.

Interestingly, one can also buy these planes and make them into their own private jet, but it will cost them quite a penny.

But which of these aircraft is the best commercial plane?

Is it the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320? Let’s take a closer look.

Best commercial plane in terms of cabin & capacity

For passengers and airlines, the first priority is the cabin space and capacity of the aircraft.

Both aircraft come in a 3-3 arrangement with occasional business-class seats that fit their range capacity.

The Airbus A320 has a wide cabin with a seating capacity of 180 seats max.

On the other hand, the Boeing 737 can accommodate 149 to 220 seats (based on the variant), despite having a smaller cabin.

Compared to the Boeing 737, the Airbus A320 has a larger cabin, which is about 7 inches wider.

This results in A320 economy seats having 18 inches of passenger space, while a seat on a 737 measures 17 to 17.3 inches.

Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: fuel economy

An aircraft’s performance can be directly linked to its fuel efficiency.

Even a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency can save airlines millions of dollars.

The Boeing 737 has Advanced Technology winglets that improve the aircraft’s aerodynamic efficiency.

Even the Boeing 737 Max has a 14% increase in fuel economy over their predecessors.

However, the Airbus A320 has better fuel efficiency, due to cutting-edge aerodynamics and using of lighter composite materials and components.

The brand even claims that an A320 burns 35% less fuel per seat than a Boeing 737-300.

Best commercial plane in terms of range and speed

Both the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 don’t have that much of a difference when it comes to speed and range.

However, the older 737 models may be a bit behind the A320, if we don’t count its upgrades.

Both aircraft were designed as standard short-to-medium haul planes, but some newer models and upgrades have improved their cruise speed and range.

The ranges of the A321neo and the A321XLR are larger than the Boeing 737 MAX.

Unfortunately, a long-haul version of the Boeing 737 has never been developed.

In comparison, the A320 is the more modern aircraft, especially the A321neo and the A321 XLR variants.

They have more fuel-efficient engines, larger fuel tanks, more powerful engines, and a higher cruise speed.

Maintenance costs

In terms of maintenance, the Boeing 737 takes the win, as it costs significantly less money on its maintenance than the Airbus A320.

The A320 spends more time in the hangar than the 737.

 On the other hand, the 737 requires less frequent maintenance

The Boeing 737 is also out of service for fewer days than the Airbus A320.

Even a maintenance check needs fewer person-hours due to the “old-school” design of the 737.

Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320: so which is the best commercial plane?

Looking at all the pros and cons of these aircraft does not tell us much about which is the best commercial plane.

It is a very tricky question to answer as it is somewhat subjective and opinions can vary depending on what parameters we are attempting to judge.

In the end, it all comes down to individual airlines and how they have configured their Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320.

Each airline will have a different configuration for their aircraft’s internal layout, which can change the comfort significantly.

So, it depends on which airline you prefer to travel with.


Nalin Rawat

Nalin started his career by working with various national newspapers in India. He has also worked as a writer/editor for many popular websites, while still pursuing his journalism and mass communication degree. Working as a digital nomad has allowed him to inform and educate through his work. When he is not writing, you can find him playing video games or travelling the mountains on his bike.