Airlines slash legroom in profits boost attempt

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on August 30, 2012

Two of North America’s leading airlines are to slash the amount of legroom that is available to passengers in economy class  while space is made for higher-priced seating.

JetBlue, the US domestic carrier, will reduce the legroom of its 52 aircraft from 33 inches down to 32. This move will allow two extra rows of seats with 38 inches’ worth of legroom, to be fitted at the front of the plane.

WestJet, one of Canada’s most recognised airlines, will also trim the amount of legroom its offers on its Boeing 737 aircraft due to four rows of seats with 36 inches worth of legroom being installed. The carrier said that the changes will be completed by the close of the year.

The two mentioned airlines will charge their passengers more if they wish to have the extra legroom, admitting that the changes are intended to drive up revenue. Already, some reports have suggested that JetBlue can raise an extra $150 million per year through its plan.

The actions of WestJet and JetBlue reflect a growing trend for airlines, especially in North America, yet is generally opposed by the vast majority of travellers. Also this year, Southwest Airlines began adopting a similar policy and moved its economy class seats closer together.

Elsewhere in the world of aviation, Airbus has been considering installing wider aisle seats aboard its A320 Aircraft.

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