The shrinking airplane seat epidemic is spreading.
Passengers on JetBlue’s new A320 aircraft may notice their flights feel a little more crowded.
That's because JetBlue will soon begin rolling out its new A320 cabin, which adds an additional 12 seats to the economy cabin and reduces the space between seats from 34 to 32 inches, according to Travel Weekly.
JetBlue’s 34-inch seat pitch previously offered economy passengers some of the most spacious seating in economy. Even with the two-inch decrease, however, 32 inches is still more than many other airlines offer in their economy cabins, according to SeatGuru.com. Most domestic airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines offer a 31-inch seat pitch in short-haul economy flights.
The retrofitted cabins will now hold 162 seats, up from the current 150-seat capacity. But to satisfy cramped customers, there will be more modern features available at each seat. Every traveler will have access to personal power outlets and USB ports. Passengers will also be able to watch their in-flight entertainment on larger, high-definition television screens.
JetBlue's chief financial officer, Steve Priest, announced in an earnings call last week that it will take about three years to complete renovations on the airline’s entire fleet of A320 aircraft (130 in total). Each aircraft will take about 30 days to retrofit.
The airline's A320 retrofit was first announced in 2016, and JetBlue had hoped to complete the project by 2019. It was delayed because of “quality issues” from business partners, Priest said during the phone call.