Airbus Working On Wider Aisle Seats That Will Cost More

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.

Airbus Pitches Wider Seats for Overweight Passengers in the U.S. [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jimbo831 says:

    Airbus expects $10 is a fair price, so expect these to cost at least $25.

  2. Stickdude says:

    Forget more space side-to-side.

    I’m 6′ 6″, and I would gladly pay extra to not have to spend the entire flight with my knees up to my chin.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    can we pay $5 cheaper for or even $4 cheaper for the smaller seats?

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      No, but if you ask for it, they’ll be glad to charge you $25 for a ‘custom fitted seating experience’.

  4. Geekybiker says:

    Sign me up now! I get cramps in my shoulders from flying with my arms crossed the whole way since the seats are narrower than my shoulders.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    “Airline passengers have proven they are willing to pay for minor luxuries like legroom and early boarding”

    From reading Consumerist “articles”, I think it has been proven that we are not willing to pay for minor luxuries. Isn’t minor luxuries an oxymoron, like jumbo peanuts?

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    $10 for extra width seats? It might be the first airline add-on fee I’d be willing to pay.

    • iesika says:

      Same here.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      Screw that, I would not pay for that.
      I always sit window, so this wont affect me.
      Now those that normally like Aisle are going to be screwed over having to pay more for their seat for no reason.

      • Jevia says:

        Actually, the way I read this, in a row of 3 seats, the aisle seat will be increased from 18 inches to 20 inches and the window and center seats (typo in article that said window and aisle) will be reduced to 17 inches. So this will effect EVERYONE.

        I suppose this works well for many people/families where chances are, one person in the family is bigger than average.

        The thing is, now if someone spills over even a little bit from their 20 inch seat, the person in the center, now in a 17 inch seat, will have even less room.

  7. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    No thanks, My Camry will make it to Cali just fine. I don’t plan on leaving the country anytime soon.

  8. enabler says:

    I’d pay $10 for a wider seat in a heartbeat. I’d also be pleasantly surprised if an airline actually didn’t charge more than that.

  9. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I wish airlines would take the opposite approach.

    Just accept that flying is terrible, get rid of anything resembling a luxury and cram as many people as possible into the airplane. Make it like flying in the Army — Sit on a long bench, facing other people, with cargo in the center of the aisle, with no windows, no lights, and no bathroom.

    Yes, it sucks but if it’s cheap, who cares? We used to just piss in bottles, drug ourselves with NyQuil, and tie the back of our helmets to conduit running along the fuselage so we wouldn’t tip over in our sleep.

  10. Schildkrote says:

    This seems like it would be a good means of managing the obese on planes and minimizing their impact on normal-sized passengers.

  11. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    John Q. Tubbins and Kevin Smith will gladly pay $10 for this.

  12. Roy Hobbs says:

    Or they could, you know, MAKE THE CABINS WIDER.

  13. mikesanerd says:

    Pretty soon if you don’t pay any extra fees you’ll be riding in the cargo hold underneath the plane.

  14. nopirates says:

    the center seats are the last t get sold. why not make the center seat bigger and up the price?

    • mikesanerd says:

      You, sir, are a genius.

      • JasonK314 says:

        Or better yet, make the center seat bigger and don’t up the price. It would still be the least desired seat, but at least it wouldn’t be AS bad. Also, some people would prefer it, but not the majority.

  15. maxamus2 says:

    It’s funny, over the past 10 years they shrunk legroom and seat size to cram in more seats, so now they bring it back but charge extra.

  16. riguitargod says:

    “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.”

    If they’re taking the extra two inches from the other two seats in the row, and not expanding the seats into the aisle, then why can’t Boeing do this also? Three 18 inch seats is 54 inches across. Two 17 inch seats and one 20 inch seat is still 54 inches across.

    If the total width isn’t changing, there’s no reason Boeing couldn’t do this.

    • jimbobjoe says:

      All six seats on a 737 are already 17″ wide, so they could possibly do this, but the other seats would have to be smaller than 17″.

  17. jp7570-1 says:

    Bad idea. Is the RyanAir CEO now in charge of Airbus too?

    Making the non-aisle seats narrower is not going to work with the ever-expanding American waistline. The only other option is to narrow the aisle itself – already at the tightest possible tolerances for roll-on luggage.

    Wait a minute! That’s it! Narrow the aisle so you can’t bring on your carry-on or roll-aboard, then you are forced to pay for checking it! Sounds a lot like Spirit Airlines to me.

  18. smo0 says:

    Can it be like the family flight, in which it is advertised that it is what it is and you can avoid taking that particular flight?

  19. JasonK314 says:

    Airbus already has an advantage. I only fly on Airbus planes that have 18 inch seats because Boeing planes have 17 inch seats. You can get 21 inch seats in first class on either, but first class tickets are way too expensive. I’ll happily pay an extra $10-$50 for a wider seat (depending on how much wider), but not first class ticket prices.

  20. StarKillerX says:

    So, if adding the wider seat requires the other two seats in the row to be narrower and if the wider one costs $50 more will the narrower seats be discounted $25 each to make up for the seat space lost?