U.S. airlines have begun replacing their original plane seats with lighter, slimmer ones to reduce their fuel costs and increase the number of passengers per flight.
These “slimline” seats are smaller than the originals, but the airlines claim that even though they’re smaller, they have thinner padding that will give passengers more room. If you fly business or first-class, you won’t have to worry about smaller seats (in fact, many airlines are upgrading these seats to more premium designs). The new slimline seats are only being used in the coach class.
Other ways to save room…
In addition to new seats, some airlines are reducing the seating space from front to back, reducing the width of the plane aisles, thinning out magazine racks or moving magazine racks up above your knees. Some passengers have said they feel more crowded with these changes while others say they don’t notice the difference.
Changes by plane
MD-80s planes from American Airlines will get five extra seats.
Many Boeing 737s from Delta and American Airlines will get an additional row of seats.
Airbus A320s from JetBlue will receive new seats, but no additional rows; Airbus A320s from United will have seats that are closer together and more narrow aisles.
Boeing 737s from Alaska Airlines will get an extra row of seats and a USB power outlet at each seat.
Boeing 787s from United will have nine seats across instead of the original eight.