The lack of space on flights has long been a bugbear of British holidaymakers. But now the majority of passengers face aeroplanes with even less wiggle room after manufacturers announced plans to shrink two thirds of seats to make space for overweight travellers.
Window and centre seats on Airbus planes could lose an inch of width while extra-wide seats may be installed to accommodate passengers who are too big to fit in normal sized chairs.
Airbus is offering the option of the extra-wide seats, which will be installed only as aisle seats, on A320 jets to accommodate what it describes as “trends in demographics”.
The larger seats will be 20 inches across instead of 18 inches – the standard width – and will cost more than the regular seats.
Stefanie Von Linstow, Airbus aircraft interiors marketing manager, told aviation website Flightglobal: “Passengers in the window seat are already happy and those in the centre seat might not be willing to pay as much for the extra width.
“The aisle seat seems the most attractive for the concept.”
However, a survey by the Skyscanner website last year revealed 80 per cent of UK passengers were against the idea of losing space to accommodate overweight travellers.
The plans come weeks after Samoa Air announced it will become the world’s first airline to charge passengers by their weight rather than per seat.
It said the policy had helped to raise obesity awareness and improve public health.