Airline passengers have proven they are willing to pay for minor luxuries like legroom and early boarding, and airlines have proven their willingness to collect those fees. Thus, the folks at Airbus are working on a seating arrangement that would give some people wider seats and allow the carriers to make some more cash.
According to Bloomberg, Airbus has been going around to airlines to pitch a version of its A320 jet that would have aisle seats in coach that are 20″ wide.
Of course, since the other airplane dimensions remain fixed, the window and aisle seats will possibly need to be trimmed slightly to 17″. The A320 can currently fit six 18″ seats in a row, though some airlines do not take advantage of that extra room.
“Airlines are improving their margins by charging for bags, window seats, and food,” said John Leahy, chief operating officer for customers at Airbus. “But what most people really want is space, and that’s what we can offer. Every economy-class aisle seat would be almost as wide as a first class seat on competing aircraft.”
So what’s it going to cost? Leahy tells Bloomberg that he thinks airlines charging a $10 fee would be reasonable for the extra room.
The plane-maker is hoping this will give it an edge over Boeing, as the slightly slimmer cabin of the popular 737 jet would not allow the widening of aisle seats.
The main problem we foresee is when families or large groups try to book tickets on one of these planes with the wider — and more costly — aisle seats. If a family of three wants to sit together, they will have to pony up the fee for at least one seat, or they would have to be split up. Of course, families traveling with surly teens may actually prefer a few hours apart from each other.