Airlines widen middle seats, but it could come at a cost

The dreaded middle seat has gotten a bit of an upgrade on flights and it’s working in the favor of airlines.

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Carriers like Frontier, Spirit, Air New Zealand and Korean Air have been experimenting with adding an extra inch to widen the middle seat on planes. According to The Wall Street Journal, the implementation has been a success as comfort scores are improving among all passengers on flights with improved space.

Spirit Airlines interior with widened middle seat

Now that the upgrade has been shown to boost customer comfort and satisfaction, airlines may be looking into adding a premium to middle seats with extra room.

WHAT IS THE SAFEST SEAT ON A PLANE?

Acro Aircraft Seating formulated the design for wider middle seating on Airbus A220 and A320 narrow-body airplanes, which widens seats from 17 to 18 inches. The configuration is now being produced on 80 percent of all Acro deliveries.

Spirit Airlines seating

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Spirit Airlines has been improving its ranking among other air carriers in the "Middle Seat Scorecard," moving from near bottom to middle of the pack.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SAVESPIRIT AIRLINES INC.11.78-1.11-8.61%

The budget airline has the least amount of row depth in the industry -- 28 inches compares to an average 30 inches to 31 inches -- and has “pre-reclined” seats due to close proximity in front and behind. Since experimenting with Acro seating, comfort scores for middle-seat passengers increased by 50 percent. Spirit Airlines now plans to implement widened middle-seats on all future deliveries. The airline "will start promoting it heavily and pricing seat assignments to reflect the added room," according to the Journal.

"We are simply working to provide a better flying experience with the same affordable fares in order to increase the value we provide to our Guests," a Spirit Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business.

Spirit Airlines interior

This article originally said that Spirit's seat prices will increase. It has been updated to say that price seat assignments will reflect the added room and includes comment from a Spirit Airlines spokesperson.

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