Airlines charging for extra legroom

Oct. 8, 2010 at 12:04 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Airline passengers who want more legroom on flights might have to pay an extra $100 to get it, an industry watchdog group said.

Some discount airlines also eliminated the seat recline function so they can install additional seats to generate more revenue, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"If you're a low-cost carrier, you have to look at these moves" to stay price-competitive, said Matt Daimler, founder of, which tracks airline seating information.

Flights where seat rows are spaced farther apart can add up to 2 inches of legroom and passengers who desire the extra space might have to pay as much as $100 for the luxury, the report said.

Among U.S. air carriers, JetBlue offers coach passengers the most room between seats, but travelers desiring extra space can get up to 4 inches of additional legroom by paying a fee starting at $10 per "flight segment," the newspaper said.

"When you get on a plane, the first thing most people do is jack that seat back," said Joel Feldman, a JetBlue passenger who frequently flies between New York and South Florida. "When you have that extra space, it makes a difference."

Spirit Airlines offers passengers about 28 inches of legroom on its four new Airbus 320 aircraft, which have 178 seats that don't feature a recline function.

Spirit officials said the "pre-reclined" seats are lighter, minimize maintenance costs, and let passengers fly cheaper.

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