These two words appeared frequently in a passage, for example: "There is no reason to limit the number of seats in a row other than by travel distance, provided there is an adequate gangway at both ends of the row so that escape is possible in two directions and the seatway is generous." To my understanding, seatway is the horizontal passage between rows of seats while gangway is the vertical passage. But I can't find much explanation about "seatway" on the Internet. Can't be sure whether I am right or not.

  • 3
    I have never read/heard "seatway" before.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 26, 2015 at 1:45
  • Me neither. The word on my side of the Atlantic would be "isle," but what do I know. Please don't downvote.
    – Ricky
    Oct 26, 2015 at 2:17
  • @Ricky Don't worry. People can downvote a question or an answer, but not a comment, I think.
    – Suya Shao
    Oct 26, 2015 at 2:23
  • Which side of Atlantis would that isle be?
    – deadrat
    Oct 26, 2015 at 2:44
  • @Ricky - Aisle bet it would be I'll. Or something like that.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 26, 2015 at 3:06

1 Answer 1


"Seatway" would appear to be a term of art for the distance between rows or tiers of seats. Consult the following manual (complete with diagrams) from the British Association Of Seating Equipment Suppliers. The manual defines gangway as

The access space internally on a tiered seating block that provides the means of distributing people on a seating area and for evacuation from the area.

What the OP calls the "gangway at both ends", the BAOSES calls the lateral gangway or vertical aisle.

  • Just to point out what may be obvious: it's important in this context (means of escape in emergency) because, as in a theatre or cinema, the time taken to get to the end of your row of seats may be a matter of life or death. The larger the gap between your seat and the ones in front, the quicker your exit is likely to be.
    – JHCL
    Oct 26, 2015 at 7:08

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