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Airline seats are now 1.5 inches narrower than they used to be

It’s not your imagination—the already cramped, uncomfortable airline seat is shrinking even more. The airlines have a good financial reason: Carriers are investing money, space, and design smarts—but mostly in the front of the plane. While catering to business and premium economy flyers, they’re literally shrinking seats in coach. ( More...

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BeechSportBill 10
sure wish MY BUTT was 1 1/2 inches narrower...
Bryce Fischer 10
And don't forget that the people in those seats are 8 inches wider than they used to be.
PhotoFinish 2
Those who are not 8 inches wider should not have to pay more to subsidize those who are 8 inches wider.

Let each person pay for the amount of seat they need, require or want.

Vote with your purchasing power choose airlines that give you want you desire. Be it a bigger seat or a smaller fare or legroom or whatever.
Amtrak is looking better all the time.
Mike Davis 4
Yes, they are driving people away. I'm 6'4" and not obese. My height isn't my fault or choice. But travel is, and my last two trips from middle U.S. to the east coast were in my private vehicle, not in a cattle car. The cost of first class is more than enough to pay for a motel, gas and meals for two days and I know where the hell my luggage is. So-called economy-plus seats are usually already full, and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay any airline for the "privilege" of picking my own seat among the remains.

I'll bet some carrier could make a fortune by increasing seat room for passengers, charging one fair, flat fee for two bags and cut the stupid antics of fighting for elbow room. Look at Southwest on the baggage issue - it works.
mrbill767 2
American tried that about 8 years ago. "More room in coach" Was a complete failure. Had no impact on their yield per ASM. Most people want a cheap seat, pure and simple. They'll whine and complain but at the end of the day, its price that matters!!!
Pete Templin 1
The article was about seat width, not seat pitch. Admittedly, seat pitch has shrunk as well, but most airlines offer economy+ where you can get more legroom for probably less than the cost of one night motel.
Tim Marks 5
Pete, bet you are not 6'3" and over 250 lbs. and built like a football player? When a person like Mike Davis or myself fly the seat pitch AND the seat width are all important factors. My shoulders were already 6 inches wider than the previous seats and loosing another 1.5 inches will only make matters worse. Maybe you should sit between Mike and I on our next flight with these new narrower seats and see if you agree?
I'm right there with you Tim. 6'3", 265 powerlifter(cue pick things up and put them down jokes). Shoulder room is huge for me, along with leg room. As it is my knees hit the seat in front of me WITHOUT them reclining. I always opt for the window seat because I can lean against the window and make it a little better but that doesn't help me when the person in front of me reclines. Delta's Economy Comfort is a help but still isn't a solution.
Mike Davis 2
Yes, it was about width. But on commercial airliners, unless it's a large aircraft (i.e. 777, etc.) or wide body, the way they are increasing seating is to decrease seat distance front to back to cram in an extra row or two. You can see this by how the windows now don't line up with the seating. "Dishing" out the seatbacks doesn't remove the seatback frame which forces you to sit for hours with your knees together or wedged against the seatback frame in front of you.

And the argument to pick economy-plus seats is largely an illusion. If you buy tickets too far in advance, the airlines don't know what type of aircraft may be allocated to that flight and do not have seat choice available yet. Then when you can choose seating, they either charge you for that, or you find all the choice seats already assigned. One airline (I wish I knew which one) had the audacity to ask my wife for $40 to pick an economy seat of her choice!

The point is that with rare exception, my commercial flying days are over.
PhotoFinish 2
No question. Choose and pay for economy plus/premium seat well in advance. If for any reason, a economy premium seat isn't avaialble on the day of flight, respectfully and forcefully request a FREE upgrade to business.

1. They sold you the bigger seat.
2. You can't fit in the small seats.
3. They should provide you with a seat large enough to fit you.

Let everyone else get and complain about their cheaper, cramped seating. Pay for the ample space that you desire/ need/ want.
toddshonts 2
I would like to see how this 1.5 inches narrower is used. They didn't add an extra seat to each row. Did they make the isles wider? They are now reducing seat pitch and did reduce seat width many years ago. This is old news.
Pete Templin 2
I'm frustrated that none of these articles ever point out that 737s are still 3+3 seating. Even if the seat is narrower, the passenger spacing didn't change, as we all know the aisle in coach isn't getting any wider. 757s are still 3+3 seating, A318/319/320/321 are still 3+3 seating, etc. The only place seats are getting narrower is the wide-body, where the seat count per row is high enough that they can actually fit in another seat (2+4+2 becomes 2+5+2, etc.).
phil gibson 2
Now what you have are "Greyhound" bus seats! Oh.....what a ride :) . Now, just suck it in and wear a girdle:) fun times.
William Long 2
The TSA should make those security portals the same width as a coach class seat!
PhotoFinish 2
Some people pay substantial premiums to avoid the coach class experience. Having TSA treat everyone the same would be egalitarian and socialist-friendly. But doing so would ruin commercial aviation as the highest revenue passengers would leave the airlines in droves for private jet service.

I don't mind having people on the same flight I'm traveling who are willling to pay much more than I am. They help subsidize the cost of travel. But the last time I checked, the front and back of the plane arrive* at the destination airport at the same time.

*at least for most planes. Some third world airlines and Asiana may not always follow the laws of physics.
larry clement 2
I knew there were reasons why I fly my own plane. (it's not a jet) saves time, no hassle, no obnoxious passengers, no waiting, no TSA, no lost baggage, and I set my own schedule.
ADXbear 2
This has just gotten stupid.. even for a short trip... maybe soon they will just have us standing holding on to a overhead strap... Don't they realize that most people will pay a little more to have a seat that fits... I for one buy 2 seats now just so I can be comfortable...
Bernie20910 2
I'd just like to point out that what you're doing doesn't help. Buying two seats, instead of pressuring the airlines to use realistic size seats and charge a little more just gives them the incentive to keep the seats small, so more people buy two seats and their profits are bigger. Essentially they collect an entire fare for providing nothing, instead of just making a few more dollars but having to provide complete service.
Pam Niehoff 1
Eat lots of garlic before your flight and you won't have to pay for the extra seat!
jwmson 2
Greedy bastards! Meanwhile, people are getting wider. The motto of most airlines when its comes to economy is:
"The cattle will refrain from mooing."
Ed Berling 1
Oh, I thought my scale was broken...
Carlos Bea 1
It was really weird seeing 3 across on both sides of the isle of an AA MD80. I normally see that configuration on 737's. Sitting down, for this. 6 ft, 160 lb fella was a tight squeeze.

Tova Hornung 1
Regional jets have the WORST seats!
And nobody blames the Big 3 Middle-East airlines for this shrinkage; they are the ones that started packing extra seats in the rows of two-aisles airplanes; they started ordering these packed configurations with narrower seats a few years ago, from both BOEING and Scarebus! They are the greedy ba5tards that started this! Shame on them! That's why I don't fly with them, not even in C or F.

And, remember, not ALL airlines are doing this - offering narrow seats on Economy! Fly SQ, and many other good airlines that offer 9-across in their B777s, instead of 10-across, like Emirates......
Great if you are 10 years old. Are they trying to drive passengers away?
scoee1 1
Expanding on Pete's comment, and pardon my newbie perspective, but doesn't it cost more money to redesign, remanufacture, re-set,etc. the seats, even if it is a multi-aisle aircraft? It just seems like this is not a positive opportunity cost in the end. Again...a newbie perspective.
Pete Templin 5
They replace the seats on a regular basis, so while they're out they can simply order different seats, adjust the spacing, etc.
Lilian Hobbs 1
I bet the trend would be reversed if the airline execs had to fly in these seats and put up with the passenger next to you keep hitting your arm or waving their newspaper in your face or you getting wedged in when the person in front puts the seat back. I was never allowed to fly business but my boss was....
Pam Niehoff 1
Or the kid behind you keeps kicking the back of your seat... oh, the joys of air travel. I miss British Air, where people behaved, they gave you food and drink for free, and there was room to move around.
pretty soon, we will have to fly in swimwear, to fit in those seats.
Pam Niehoff 1
Scary thought, isn't it?
flyingscotno1 0
It's a race to the bottom and most will suffer it as anything but Y is unaffordable. I'd personally avoid 3-4-3 777s where possible. Emirates gives a bit more seat pitch as compensation but I note Air Canada's 777s are moving to 3-4-3 at standard 31 inch pitch, which must be far higher number of pax and feel more crowded. Of course Premium Economy has been added to hopeful make people up-spend on a ticket.
phil gibson 1
Ever get a chance to ride on a there's a nice ride. Makes all the rest like " Greyhound"......Airline travel has been a hassle for a long time. Walking thru the never see a smile anymore.....the ticket prices are absolutely " Stupid".....the Investors want a return on their's all about the "dollar!" Damnit!
Martin Haisman 0
That's 3.81 cm in the real world.
There's a reason for people to get in shape. Instead of whining, eat better and hit the gym, it may save your life!!!
As above, I'm 6'3" 265. I go to the gym 5 days a week, eat a healthy diet, blood pressure is 110/60, cholesterol is perfect, 36" waist, bench just shy of 400lbs, squat and pull 500lbs. Throw in a size 15 shoe and a carry on under the seat in front of me, I might as well be crammed in a sardine can, or an ERJ 135.
rj sullivan 2
Please scroll back up and re read Anthony Delmonaco's comment. He IS in shape, healthy person but physically large. Not all airline passendger are out of shape as you contend, but rather are of Anthony's profile. Be careful of the dispersions you cast!
Bernie20910 2
I'm a 6'2" and 255lbs. retired general contractor who can still bench 300 and has a 36" waist. I don't even come close to fitting those seats (and don't even try anymore - now I drive or take the train). Wanna try saying something less stupid?
If an opinion is stupid, then it seems that you are too!!!

Bernie20910 1
What are you, twelve years old?
Thrustt, I think you are right! It is true. Truth hurts, but what you are saying is true.

I speak for myself, but I think that passengers in general (specially in the US) are getting bigger (fatter) and they (we) don't fit in those narrow seats anymore and they (not me anymore) just start complaining.
It happened to me a few months ago when I was assigned to an exit row on a plane, a seat with those fixed armrests and boxy seat arrangements (narrower seat area compared to regular seats in other rows), and I was literally "squeezed" into the seat, I couldn't move at all - it was an extremely narrow and uncomfortable space.
That day, I realized I was really getting fatter.
The following day I started going to the gym again and also started visiting a nutritionist. At the end of the day, that seat on that flight that day gave me a wake up call.
Today, I have lost more than 10 pounds since that flight (and still losing weight by the way) and my health is improving. Lower cholesterol, triglycerides and lower blood pressure.

Again, you are ABSOLUTELY right!


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