Delta Airlines is expected to spend $770 million over the next 3 years on a major interior overhaul to most of its planes. The airline announced Wednesday that it will install new seats and bigger bins on 225 of its planes within the U.S.
Delta said Wednesday that each of the new seats on the 225 planes will have electrical power to improve passenger comfort.
More seats will be fitted onto many of those planes including 10 more on its A320 planes, 19 more on its Boeing 757-200s and 6 more on its Airbus A319s.
By using a new seat technology called “slim-line”, more space will be created because the new seats will have smaller and lighter weight frames in both the front and back. The new kitchens, known as galleys, will also take up less space on the Boeing 757s. Also, a fraction of the 737s will have the number of their business-class seats reduced and the number of coach seats increased.
Delta’s spokesman Paul Skirbec said that the legroom on the planes will remain unaltered but the seats on the Airbus planes will be a bit broader.
Delta isn’t the first airline to retrofit its airplanes using slim-line technology, Southwest and American Airlines have already gone this route. Some will argue that the real reason for the overhaul is less about passenger comfort and more about profits. The new slim-line technology will allow more seats to be placed in the cabin. For example, an additional six seats to an economy cabin that previously had 140 seats could increase revenue by 4 percent or more. Also, lighter seats result in greater fuel economy. Southwest expected to save $10 million a year on its fuel cost with the new design.
So what about comfort?
“When designers think seat, they think butt, but the widest part of the body is the shoulders,” said Kathleen Robinette, a seasoned designer at the Air Force Research Lab.
In addition, Americans are getting bigger- their waistlines that is. Shrinking down seat size will be good for Delta’s bottom line but will likely result in many passengers feeling cramped and uncomfortable.
Slim-line Seating may not be so comfortable after all
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