BRITISH AIRWAYS plans to squeeze an extra passenger into each row of economy on its transatlantic flights by next summer.
The airline will add the seats into Boeing 777s at Gatwick from 2018, with those based at Heathrow next.
The new plans will see the number of seats in economy increase from nine to ten per row – so an extra 52 people can board each flight. A fourth seat will be added to the middle aisle to make it a three-four-three configuration.
The number of toilets will most probably stay the same despite the extra number, so queues will get even longer.
As well as New York, BA’s Boeing 777s serve Kingston in Jamaican, Orlando, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The reconfigured, more tightly packed planes will fly from July 8, 2018.
The Daily Telegraph reported that BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, said the new layout will help bring fare costs down below those offered by other airlines.
And a spokesperson for the airline added that the economy cabin will be fitted with brand new entertainment systems with larger screens, along with a “generous” hand baggage allowance and complimentary food and drink.
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Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, told an audience at Capital Markets Day that the move mean the airline could “lower the average cost per seat, charge a lower price and stimulate demand”.
Other airlines which have 10 seats per row include Air New Zealand and Emirates.
While space for passengers would be smaller, BA has said the economy cabin would be fitted with new entertainment systems.
The airline also has plans to add in 12 extra seats on short haul flights using the Airbus A320 flying from Heathrow.
BA passengers will be able to surf the web using wifi on short-haul flights from next summer.
The technology will allow passengers to watch streaming services, such as Netflix, watch Skype or FaceTime family and friends across multiple devices.
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