New Spirit Airlines planes cut out reclining seats

April 22nd, 2010 by –
It appears that low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines is determined to have its newest Airbus planes live up to their moniker. First the airline announced it would charge passengers for carrying bags on board. Now it’s putting in service planes with seats that don’t recline.

Spirit has already put two of the new Airbus A320 aircraft with “pre-reclined” seats into service; one flies between Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Washington, D.C., and the other flies between Fort Lauderdale and New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Two more fixed-seat planes currently on order will join the company’s fleet this summer.

The move is yet another cost-shaving move for the Miramar, Fla.-based airline. Fixed seats weigh less, which saves on fuel, and their lack of moving parts reduces maintenance costs. These savings can be passed on in the form of lower fares, Spirit spokeswoman Marty Pinson told The Miami Herald.

With a seat pitch of only 28 inches, Spirit seats are already the most cramped in the industry. Seat pitch – the distance between the front of one seat and the back of the one ahead of it when both are upright — is considered the best measure of legroom on a plane. Airbus A320 planes can hold up to 180 seats; Spirit planes have 178. Most carriers configure their planes with at least 30 inches between seats; traditional carriers with two-class cabins offer seat pitches as large as 36 inches in their more expensive seats, with resulting higher fares. The only Spirit passengers who can catch a break from cramped seating are those in the plane’s four “big front seats,” which are wider than the regular “deluxe leather seats” and have a seat pitch of 36 inches.

Spirit passengers interviewed by the Herald were less than thrilled at the news. Eve Greene, who flew from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia in one of the planes, said, “I hate sitting upright. It felt cheap and uncomfortable.”

Matt Daimler, founder of, advised that tradeoffs come with the low-fare territory: “You have to realize that you’re giving up some comfort to fly at those low prices,” he said.

And the squeezes in the wallet and the legroom appear not to have hurt ticket sales: Spirit said that sales rose 50 percent after it announced the carry-on luggage fee.

One Response

  1. Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Bubba the Love Sponge® Show

    [...] Stories: Oil Rig Explosion: Search on for 11 Missing Off Louisiana Coast New Spirit Airlines planes cut out reclining seats Balloon boy parents to pay $36K in restitution to sheriff’s department, other agencies School [...]

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