Brit fliers' fury over extra-wide plane seats for overweight passengers


Brit fliers' fury over extra-wide plane seats for overweight passengersGetty

Over 80% of Brits oppose proposals from airline manufacturer Airbus to reduce seat sizes to accommodate new extra-wide seats for heavier passengers, according to a new survey by Skycanner.

On a typical airliner, seats are 18 inches wide, but Airbus' new seat format offers an extra-wide aisle seat which is 20 inches wide.

However, this comes at the expense of the middle and window seats, which each lose an inch, making them just 17 inches wide.

Airlines will then be able to charge extra for the seats, as just a £6.50 fee could generate £2million for each aircraft over 15 years of service.

This could help to offset the cost of extra fuel required to carry overweight passengers.

The move comes in response to frequent complaints from passengers forced to sit next to an overweight person.

Nicholas Tschechne, who conducts research at Airbus, said: "Passenger size has emerged as a core issue we need to deal with. And sitting next to obese passengers is the number one complaint."

But over three-quarters of the 1,000 people who responded to the Skyscanner survey said that it is ridiculous that most passengers would have to squeeze into a smaller seat as a result.

As of yet, it has not been announced which airlines will be installing the new seats, or what the pricing structure will be. However, in line with many airlines that charge more for seats with extra legroom, it's likely that the extra-wide seats would come at a premium, whilst the narrower seats would simply become the norm, with no discount being offered.

A massive eight out of 10 believe that passengers who require more space should be charged.
The poll by found that 48% of all those questioned thought heavier people should pay for their extra weight, just as other fliers pay for excess baggage.

This also echoes a poll carried out by Aol Travel, which found that, out of the 10,000 people who participated, 70% thought it was fair to charge a fat tax.

However, they didn't realise that they could be left with smaller space as a result.

Sam Poullain, Skyscanner spokesperson, told Aol Travel: "The issue of charging more for bigger seats is a contentious one as it gives airlines a financial incentive to reduce standard seat sizes. Airbus' new extra-wide seat format is a clever way for airlines to generate more revenue, but it's inevitable that some passengers will feel hard done by as they'll be losing an inch from their seat widths."

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