The Real Problem With Airplane Seats Is Width

Posted By Debbie on November 10, 2017

Airlines and the media have been distracting us a long time. You want legroom. More legroom. Economy Plus has 3″ more legroom. Upgrade for more legroom.

Legroom legroom legroom.

I’ve noticed that most of the flights I’ve been on lately, I think my arms overlapped the arms of people next to me. Strangers. My shoulder is over their shoulder.

Many adults are wide. I think of myself as average width. Very average in American size. And no matter how I try to pull my arms in, I’m overlapping people next to me.

I will pay for more width.

I’ve upgraded seats often. I’ve had United’s annual subscription to Economy Plus seats. But I would rather pay more for more width.

Yes, airlines are unlikely to do that. Put two seats where three can go and you might think they lose that fare. I wouldn’t pay double for that seat. But I’ve paid $20 – $160 for an upgraded seat.

Would I pay 50% more for a wide seat? Depends on the flight and the fare. But if you get two people to pay 1.5x, then you have made up for the missing seat. Give me a free checked bag and maybe I’ll pay 1.5x.

Hey, Deb, Isn’t a Wider Seat a First Class Seat?

Not necessarily. I’ll sit with the economy peeps and get fewer drinks, food, mixed nuts, etc… but preferably have more width.

I wonder if anybody has run the math on this… since it’ll be about math. I imagine few people at an airline are shouting out, “How can we make passengers more comfortable?!?!?!”