Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly feel more like a sardine on your flight, another airline has announced they’re making their planes even more crowded.
According to Flight Global, United will be retrofitting its Boeing 757-300 fleet with new slimline seats by mid-2018, adding 21 seats to the economy cabin on the aircraft for a total of 210 seats. First class seating will remain the same, with a total of 24 seats. It’s unclear whether the new seating will offer outlets or personal TV screens (as economy seats currently do).
I’s not just United’s 757s that are getting a squeeze. The airline is also reconfiguring its business class Polaris seating on 777-200s for long-haul flights to add 21 more seats. And United isn't alone — British Airways and American Airlines have also added seats to some planes, increasing rows to 10.
Airlines often increase seating as a cheap way to reduce costs. Increasing capacity is often more economical than buying a completely new aircraft to add to the fleet. Of course, it’s debatable whether or not these reduced costs are passed down to the consumer.
If you’re feeling like planes are shrinking, it’s not exactly untrue. That claustrophobic feeling you’re getting might be coming from that tiny, uncomfortable seat you’re in.