As the AP reports, “The big U.S. airlines are taking out old, bulky seats in favor of so-called slimline models that take up less space from front to back, allowing for five or six more seats on each plane.
“The changes, covering some of the most common planes flown on domestic and international routes, give the airlines two of their favorite things: More paying passengers, and a smaller fuel bill because the seats are slightly lighter. It’s part of a trend among the airlines to view seats as money-makers, not just pieces of furniture. Add a few inches of legroom and airlines can charge more for tickets. Take away a few inches and they can fit more seats on the plane.”
So, which airlines are squeezing our butts even tighter?
“New seats going into United Airlines’ Airbus A320s are an inch closer together from front to back. The new seats Southwest has put on nearly its entire fleet are 31 inches apart, about an inch less than before. In both cases, the airlines were able to add an extra row of six seats to each plane. Southwest went from 137 seats to 143.
“As recently as 2010, most airlines buying Boeing’s big 777 opted for nine seats across. Now it’s 10 across on 70 percent of newly-built 777s, Boeing says. American’s newest 777s are set up 10-across in coach, with slightly narrower seats than on its older 777s.
“Boeing’s new 787 could also be a tighter squeeze in coach. The plane was originally expected to have eight seats across but United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier currently flying it, went with nine across”
“Delta Air Lines has already added slimline seats to about one-third of its fleet.”