I was interested by Richard Davis's article, "Airlines should do more for passengers, or else" (June 19). As a simple engineer for an airline, let me comment. For "a minimum seat width of 20 inches" — most coach cabins are set up for six-across seating, so adding three inches of width to each seat would take 18 inches out of the aisle. Aisles are not much wider, so good luck getting to your seat.
Or the airline could remove one seat from each row, making the seating five-across. The aircraft's passenger capacity would be reduced (in coach) by 17 percent. Operating costs, however, would be unchanged, so the cost of the average ticket would also have to go up. To accommodate "a minimum seat pitch ... of 35 inches," the number of rows that can be fitted in a coach cabin would decrease by about 13 percent. And ticket prices would have to jump by a like amount.
Combine the effects of the two requirements and the price of an average ticket would have to go up nearly 40 percent. Davis may insist that he is not "suggesting airlines should not make a profit," but he would sure make it tough to.
Powder Springs, GA
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