Flights set to get even less comfortable


In the drive to save fuel and get more profit from each flight, airlines are taking extreme measures to squeeze more people onto each flight, and make the planes lighter at the same time. A report has revealed that airlines are designing seats with even less legroom - and some that don't recline.

So what other extreme measures are they using?

Less comfortable

The New York Times reported that in the last 20 years our legroom on airlines has reduced 10% - from 34 inches to somewhere between 32 and 30 inches. Spirit Airlines is pushing this as low as 28 inches - and the seats are set with the back reclined at a three inches to make people feel like they have more space.

Now Southwest is installing seats with less cushioning and narrower seats. It is also reducing how far the seats recline from three inches to two. This will enable the firm to squeeze an extra row of seats onto the plane.

Meanwhile Air France has brought in a non-reclining seat for domestic flights of one hour or less.

Unusual cost-cutting measures

And these are far from the only unusual measures airlines have taken in order to cut costs. We reported back in July that GoAir, a budget airline in India, announced it would only hire female cabin crew because they are lighter than men, which would save the airline £330,000 in fuel each year.

The US Airways Group made the dramatic decision to rip out the entertainment systems from 200 planes - which saves 500lbs of fuel on most flights.

Japan Airlines even stopped painting the outside of the planes in order to reduce each plane by 250kgs.

Meanwhile Nippon Air asked passengers to use the toilet before boarding, to keep the weight down.

Closer to home, Ryanair is blazing a trail by asking its flight attendants to watch their weight.

And couple of years ago British Airways reduced the weight of passenger meals (including removing pots of jam), issued new lighter trolleys and scrapped the paperwork that cabin crew have to carry. They also cut the amount of water in the on-board tanks for use in the toilets, and after a suggestion from cabin crew they descaled all the pipes to the toilets.

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