British Airways has just announced plans to reduce seating space in economy class so as to squeeze in more passengers.
Despite the average waist size of air travellers increasing, in 2018 the numbers of seats per row will rise by one to ten in the carrier’s Boeing 777’s at Gatwick airport. However, the number of toilets will stay the same and after the new seats have been installed there will be one for every 30 passengers, compared to 25 at present.
The announcement was made by Chief Executive of BA’s parent company IAG, Willie Walsh. He stated that the move would allow the company to ‘lower the average cost per seat, charge a lower price and stimulate demand’. He said ‘We’re responding to a market opportunity’.
A British Airways spokesman has stated: ‘We are flying more customers than ever before to our expanding network of destinations.’
‘To meet this demand, we are updating our 777 cabins to bring us into line with many of our competitors and allow us to offer even more low fares. As part of the update, we will also be fitting new entertainment systems with bigger screens.’
So far, the response hasn’t been entirely positive:
— Richard Broadhead (@RichardXIII) November 5, 2016
With some focus on the increasing waist line of passengers:
— Rafael Alves Batista (@8rafael) November 6, 2016
The airline recently faced criticism after its announcement about its new partnership with Marks & Spencer revealed they would start to charge passengers for meals on short-haul flights for the first time. BA has always distinguished itself from its budget rivals by including meals in ticket prices and passengers may now complain that the quality airline is going downmarket.
The deal would allow the line to cut fares, therefore making it look better value in comparison to Ryanair and EasyJet which have been taking a growing share of the market.
Whilst some travellers say they prefer British Airways because they do not have to buy snacks, executives believe holidaymakers are increasingly more open to pay for extras if ticket prices are lower.
In another development, the airline will be launching Wi-Fi on short flights from summer 2017. Passengers onboard will be able to connect to a 4G broadband network with access to ‘the internet access they expect on the ground whilst in the air’.
BA will also be adding 12 extra seats on its short-haul Airbus A320 fleet operating from Heathrow, giving the planes the same seating density as EasyJet. The company have stated the decisions will bring it into line with its competitors, including Emirates and Air New Zealand.
So, what are your thoughts on the news today? Have British Airways made the right decision squeezing in more passengers to economy class? Do you think things should have stayed the same? How many times have you travelled with BA? Leave us your comments below!
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