Airlines try to squeeze even more seats into your plane

Apr 21, 2014


The interior of the economy class of the new Airbus A350 XWB is pictured during a presentation in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 07, 2014. European aircraft manufacturing company Airbus presented the interior of its future A350 which – according to the company – will offer “more personal space, flexibility and comfort” than other aircrafts in its class. ; Credit: PATRICK LUX/AFP/Getty Images

You might think that air travel can’t possibly get more uncomfortable but, ladies and gentlemen, it just might get worse.

Airlines and aircraft interior design companies gathered this month at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, to show off the latest and greatest ways to squeeze even more passengers into the already-overcrowded planes.

More than 500 exhibitors were at the expo showing off everything from lightweight seat belts to save on fuel costs to flip up, stadium-style seating that would make it easier to board and exit the rows. Some of the more popular proposals made major changes to the standard airplane interior.

One company showed off a staggered, diagonal layout that would give you some extra space away from your neighbor but could make traveling with families difficult.

How far will airlines go to squeeze in even more passengers? And how much more discomfort will travelers put up with for a cheap ticket? How uncomfortable would an airplane seat have to be to get you to shell out more money for an upgrade?


Seth Miller, author of the Wandering Aramean blog, which focuses on travel, frequent-flier news and the experience of airline passengers


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