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United Airlines to install slimmer seats to increase capacity

August 22, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • United Airlines plans to install a slimmer seat design on its fleet of 152 Airbus planes, allowing it to add an additional row of seats to each plane without sacrificing legroom, according to the manufacturer.
United Airlines plans to install a slimmer seat design on its fleet of 152… (Recaro Aircraft Seating )

United Airlines plans to join several other carriers by installing slimmer seats next year, allowing the airline to squeeze in more passengers per plane.

The Chicago-based airlines said next year it will begin adding seats manufactured by German-based Recaro Aircraft Seating to its fleet of 152 narrow-body Airbus planes.

The padding on the Recaro seats is thin enough that the airline can add another row of seats on each plane without reducing legroom, the airline said. The aluminum seat frame also makes the seat lighter, reducing fuel costs, according to the seat manufacturer.

In the Airbus planes, United now offers between 12 and 15 rows of economy seating, depending on the model of airplane. Another row would add up to six additional seats.

United is not the first to turn to slimmer seats to pack more passengers per plane.

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines announced separately plans to install slimmer, lighter seats to increase passenger capacity.

Florida-based Spirit Airlines announced in 2010 that it was installing thinner seats that do not adjust, allowing the airline to fit up to 33 more passengers per plane.

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