Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leg Room...

If you've flown in the past few years, and you're not one of the fortunate few in business or first class, then you've had the lovely experience of seat compression.  The airlines keep moving the seats closer together (they call this “seat pitch”) to cram more seats in the airplanes.

It's occurred to me to wonder how much this is actually worth to an airline.  Does making their passengers miserable actually make them any more money?  You have to believe it does, or the airlines would quickly stop doing it (competition assures that some airline would try this as a way to attract passengers).  But how much does it make the airlines?

Well, now we know the answer.  For Southwest Airlines, changing the seat pitch from 32" to 31" was worth $773,074,040 a year.  That's serious money!

I would guess this could be optimized a bit more.  If you had seats available at various pitches (say, 31", 32", and 36"), I'd be willing to bet the airlines could sell the seats with more separation for a considerable premium, just as they do today for exit row seats (which have more separation)...

No comments:

Post a Comment