Airlines Activate Legroom Shrink Ray

Photo (cc) by Lars Plougmann

Maybe the planes themselves aren’t shrinking, but legroom on airlines JetBlue and Canadian WestJet is. Southwest pulled the shrink trigger earlier this year, too. CNN reports on those size changes…

JetBlue, a longtime champion of legroom, still says it offers the “most legroom of any other carrier throughout coach.” Now it’s cutting leg distance from 33 inches to 32 inches in 11 rows aboard its fleet of 52 Embraer E190 planes.

Alberta-based WestJet says it’s making a similar change, cutting about an inch of legroom from its regular seats and adding four rows of seats with 36 inches across its entire fleet of 737s by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, Southwest announced similar legroom changes, with some seats moving about an inch closer together — to 31 inches.

The reason for the change is obvious: to cram in more seats, scoring more fares from the same amount of jet fuel. And just like baggage fees, it looks like legroom fees are next.

JetBlue’s website advertises Even More Space seats for a variable fee where you can get “super-spacious seats that provide even more of that much-sought-after inflight space” and enjoy at least 38 inches of legroom, plus early boarding and early access to overhead bins. And, “for a limited time, we’re offering Even More Speed (expedited security) with all Even More Space seat purchases.”

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