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This Airline Wants to Give You a Wider Seat in Economy Cabin

Southwest Airlines jets are seen at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on May 16, 2008. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)
Southwest Airlines jets are seen at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on May 16, 2008. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

 

(Bloomberg) – Southwest Airlines Co. will give passengers something extra with its newly designed aircraft seats — more than one-half inch of extra width.

At 17.8 inches (45 centimeters) across, the bottom seat cushions will be the widest in the coach cabin of any Boeing Co. 737 in the U.S., according to Southwest, the biggest operator of 737s. The plane is the world’s most widely flown jetliner.

The more expansive seats represent a departure from recent trends in the airline industry, where passengers have seen their personal space shrink as carriers pack more people on each plane. Southwest will benefit too: The new seats will also reduce fuel consumption by taking 200 pounds (90 kilograms) off the weight of each aircraft.

Southwest worked with B/E Aerospace Inc. to design the seats, which were unveiled Tuesday at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

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