US Airlines In Legroom Battle

Joshua949

New Member
US Airlines In Legroom Battle
January 28, 2004

The biggest airlines in the world are in a battle for the kneecap as United said earlier this week it was taking on American in offering more legroom for passengers in economy class.

United Airlines rolled out advertisements in its hometown of Chicago and other markets saying it plans to expand a service it calls "economy plus" to its entire fleet.

The service offers up to 36 inches (91.4 cm) of pitch -- the distance between two rows of seats -- where the industry standard for pitch is 31 inches to 32 inches (78.7 cm to 81.3 cm). A United spokesman said on Wednesday its entire fleet would be fitted with economy plus by the end of May.

In ads announcing the change, United directly challenged American in the battle for legroom, and American responded by advising customers to read the small print.

American offers its "more room in coach" service on about 75 percent of the planes in its fleet. The seats with more room have between 34 inches to 35 inches (86.4 cm to 88.9 cm) of pitch and do not cost extra.

United's economy plus is only for a few rows of seats. It is offered to customers paying full economy fare and as a frequent flyer reward. Most coach customers on United would still be flying in seats that have the industry standard for legroom.

Last May, American also took away some extra legroom on about 25 percent of its fleet, adding more seats on aircraft used mostly on routes between New York or Miami and the Caribbean or in leisure markets where customers demand low fares.

Last November, low-fare carrier JetBlue said it was removing a row of seats from each aircraft in its fleet. This gave most of their seats a pitch of 34 inches, and the airline did not raise fares when it offered more room.

With so many airlines struggling to repair their fiances after the sharp downturn in business that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks, analysts said carriers must think hard about any plan, such as removing seats, that could cut revenue.

David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said the most important factor for passengers when selecting a flight is price. Schedule convenience is a close second while factors such as frequent flyer arrangements, or legroom, may be the deciding factor if the other options are equal.

He said United's plan to expand economy plus makes sense because the service offers perks to customers, such as business travelers, who may pay extra or take the carrier frequently.

"It's a good compromise for the people who are loyal. And the people who are paying more are getting more, " he said.

(Reuters)
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I thought American was going back to LRTC?


I've flown on some of the MRTC on American and man-o-man, verrrry nice.

Meanwhile on my flight home in AWA in a 757, the guy in front of me reclined his seat that I could read, use my laptop and I probably could have kissed his forehead without much effort.

But I'm not that kind of guy!
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
He said United's plan to expand economy plus makes sense because the service offers perks to customers, such as business travelers, who may pay extra or take the carrier frequently.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yup. You reward those who put their butts on your metal more often, whereas American says, hey, it doesn't matter if you fly us once or 100 times, it doesn't matter if you're paying the oh, my God, how am I going to get this past the guys in finance fare or the Aunt Bessie fare, you get the same amount of room.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I thought American was going back to LRTC?


I've flown on some of the MRTC on American and man-o-man, verrrry nice.


[/ QUOTE ]

Oh yeah, made commuting a bit more comfortable! I got stuck in the center seat in the middle section in coach of one of AAs 777s before they were all converted, and even little 5'2" me felt scrunched & crowded. Thankfully it was only between DFW and ORD, I couldn't imagine going trans-pacific like that! Taking seats for the "More Room Throughout Coach" thing was one of the best things AA ever did!
 

stultus

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I thought American was going back to LRTC?

[/ QUOTE ]

Only on 757s and A300s, everything else retains humane pitch.
 

FL270

New Member
More Room on AA is nice ... for me at 6'1", it makes a real difference.

Of course, I'll still stick with NW and CO, use the Silver Elite for the unlimited free upgrades, and ride in first most of the time.

Now THAT is the way to travel.

FL270
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
I've qualified for NW Gold the last couple of years. Michigan to Arizona this week, $280 RT, and first class seats. Loyalty pays, at least sometimes, anyway.
 

vipermcg

New Member
MRTC Rocks! I recently flew on an AA MD-80 from LGA-MCO and it was by far the most comftorable flight I've ever had in coach. I really couldn't care less about meals served, but more legroom and PTV's are things I would pay extra for.
 
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