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Subject:  Re: Poll: Pay-by-pound passenger airline travel? Date:  5/23/2008  6:06 PM
Author:  intercst Number:  12579 of 116405

tedhimself writes,

I have ridden in some small planes that have two seats on one side and one on the other. If you took a standard 6 seat across airplane and made part of it a five seater (three on one side and two on the other). It would mean that you would have to increase the cost per seat by 20% to get the same total revenue. I'd pay 20% extra, and the plane would be a little lighter from losing one passenger and his luggage, which would save the airline a little fuel.

The trend is going in the other direction. A couple of years ago Airbus proposed "stand up seating" to some Asian airlines to reduce costs.

Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, according to experts who have seen a proposal.

But even short of that option, carriers have been slipping another row or two of seats into coach by exploiting stronger, lighter materials developed by seat manufacturers that allow for slimmer seatbacks. The thinner seats theoretically could be used to give passengers more legroom but, in practice, the airlines have been keeping the amount of space between rows the same, to accommodate additional rows.

The result is an additional 6 seats on a typical Boeing 737, for a total of 156, and as many as 12 new seats on a Boeing 757, for a total of 200.

That such things are even being considered is a result of several factors. High fuel costs, for example, are making it difficult for carriers to turn a profit. The new seat technology alone, when used to add more places for passengers, can add millions in additional annual revenue. The new designs also reduce a seat's weight by up to 15 pounds, helping to hold down fuel consumption. A typical seat in economy class now weighs 74 to 82 pounds.


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