Photo: United Airlines
As fuel costs rise and profit margins shrink, United Airlines announced its upcoming switch to seats that are lighter and thinner, providing room another row of passengers, the Daily Mail reported.United denies it’s making flying less comfortable, pointing out the new seats actually increase the “living area” – the space for a passenger’s knees.
But the fact remains that having more people on a plane makes it less comfortable: Boarding and unboarding takes more time, there’s less space for carry-on luggage, bathroom lines get longer, food service (if there is any) is slower.
On top of that, despite having “modified cushions,” the thinner seats are unlikely to be as comfortable as the ones they will replace.
In ordering the BL3520 from Recaro Aircraft Seating, United is following in the footsteps of a number of European carriers, including Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Germanwings, and Brussels Airlines. It plans to install the seats on its Airbus narrow-body planes next year, and will have them all in by 2014.
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