Bloomberg reports that, by adding a new emergency exit to the 737, Boeing can fit an additional 11 seats onto the jet without running afoul of aviation safety guidelines. The new version of the 737 Max 8 jet will carry up to 200 travelers.
Additionally, Airbus is re-jigging its A320neo to bring its seat count up from 180 to 189.
It’s up to the airlines to decide how they want to cram in the additional seats. They could make bathrooms and galleys even smaller or reconfigure them to make additional room. And of course they can just trim down the space between rows by a few inches, because apparently travelers’ limbs are made of soft, pliable material and not rigid bone.
“[W]e’re just giving our customers another option to make more revenue,” a Boeing rep who apparently hates humans tells Bloomberg. “If their routes can take this additional capacity, then that’s more revenue for them.”
The likely early customers for the packed planes are discount airlines in Europe and Asia, where the new 737 could be used to get as many people on bottom-dollar, short-haul flights as possible. We’re betting that RyanAir is already wondering if maybe they could fit just a couple more people on there if they sit on each other’s laps.
One aviation consultant tells Bloomberg the cramped cabins may be a hard sell to many U.S. customers who already complain about seat pitch — the distance between rows — of 30-31 inches. He estimates that the pitch would need to be reduced to around 28 inches.