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Majority of travellers oppose wider airline seats for larger passengers

The majority of travellers would oppose wider airline seats for overweight passengers, especially if it meant giving up some of their own seat width.

That is the finding of research by travel website Skyscanner, which has revealed that 84% of flyers feel that wider seats at the expense of others would be unfair. The poll, of more than 1,000 travellers, follows plans announced by airline manufacturer Airbus recently to introduce wider seats on aircraft.

On the majority of aircraft at the moment, seats are around 18 inches wide. Airbus has said it wants to introduce extra-wide seats of around 20 inches on the aisle side, to cater for larger passengers. However, to accommodate the larger aisle seats, the middle and window seats would see their width reduced to 17 inches.

The issue of larger passengers on aircraft has long been a contentious one, with a number of airlines considering various measures. In the same way that seats with extra leg room cost more, Airbus’s plans would allow carriers to charge a premium for the wider seats. “The issue of charging more for bigger seats is a contentious issue as it gives airlines a financial incentive to reduce standard seat sizes,” said Sam Poullain, a spokesperson for Skyscanner.

“Airbus’s new extra-wide seat format is a clever way for airlines to generate more revenue, but it’s inevitable that some passengers will feel hard done by as they’ll be losing an inch from their seat widths.” Other airlines have considered introducing a so-called ‘fat tax’, which would see overweight passengers paying more to fly. According to Skyscanner’s research, this would be a far more popular measure. More than three quarters of respondents said that passengers who couldn’t fit into a standard seat should be charged extra. If you are planning a trip abroad this summer, consider investing in travel insurance. A travel insurance policy will ensure you’re not left out of pocket if you have an accident or are the victim of crime.

Date Created: 05 July 2012

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