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Airlines Squeeze More Seats Onto Planes

by Edward Mack

May 20, 2015

© Kyolshin | Dreamstime

Top Trends

Many airlines are moving to add more seats onto airplanes in an effort to improve their profit margins.


United Airlines is considering stuffing 100 more seats into its three-class 777s, or adding one extra seat per row to raise the total to 10 seats in a row. This plan essentially creates 14 new planes for the airline, according to United’s chief revenue officer.


This means that seat width, not legroom, will shrink. But travel expert Bob Atkinson of TravelSupermarket doubts most passengers would ever notice the loss. But he also points out that the extra seats don’t necessarily mean tickets will come any cheaper.


But that’s nothing compared to Airbus, which is cramming an 11th seat into their A380s. In this case the seat width will not change, but armrests will shrink. JetBlue also has plans to add 15 seats to the cabins of their aircraft.


Meanwhile, in China, budget Spring Airlines has been trying to get standing room approved on their planes.


Of course while economy class is shrinking, business class is getting a make-over of its own, only this one is toward luxury. Think butlers, a snack bar, cloud-like bedding. And the gap continues to grow.


But the news isn’t all bad. Thompson Airlines (U.K.) is considering booth seating for its crafts with a table in the middle — think trains — among other innovations. And Air New Zealand’s Skycouch is a progressive idea for families and couples, giving them an option of stretching out.


But for most of us in economy class, the future is looking skinny.



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