Consumer Watch: Smaller airline seats means a tighter squeeze for passengers


by WHAS11

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 6 at 4:48 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Just when you thought flying coach couldn't get more cramped, get ready for a tighter squeeze.  United Airlines has announced plans to install slimmer seats to fit more passengers. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen shows how much space you're losing in Wednesday’s Consumer Watch.

Flying coach is rarely comfortable.

"Very uncomfortable and I was sitting up on row 10 and they still were small, so I can't imagine them getting any smaller," says traveler Hazel Smith.

For coach passengers on United Airlines, it's going to get even more cramped.

The airline says it's going to retrofit 152 of its planes with slim-line seats, which will reduce the seat size from 18 inches to 17 inches.

"No, that's not going to work at all," says Rekha Muddaraj from Houston.  “It's already too tight, I mean, you can't move, you have back aches, you already have no leg room so I can't imagine it smaller," continues Muddaraj.

The change will allow for six extra seats in the cabin.

United says it's passengers shouldn't notice the change especially since leg room won't  be affected. The airline also plans to equip its entire fleet with Wi-Fi capabilities by 2015 but Paul Sonnier says that's no consolation.

“Trying to use a keyboard why you're are all cramped up. I don't even use my laptop anyway because it's almost impossible to do," said Sonnier.  You have to be comfortable. It doesn't make any difference if you're going to have Wi-Fi," agrees Paula Powers.

Many passengers realize space on an aircraft is becoming a rare commodity.

These latest changes will be made sometime next year.  Other major airlines have also announced plans to install slimmer seats to fit more passengers on board.

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11com.