How One Airline Hopes to Make You Actually Want the Middle Seat

How One Airline Hopes to Make You Actually Want the Middle Seat
Image credit: EQRoy |
Frontier Airlines
2 min read
This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

If you’re flying with Frontier Airlines, you might want to reserve yourself a middle seat.

The ultra-budget airline, on par with Spirit Airlines and EasyJet, is installing new seats in its Airbus 320s and 319s this year. The middle seats in each row will be afforded an extra inch of width compared to its neighbors.

The middle seats, which will not come at any additional cost, will be 19 inches wide, which Frontier says makes them the broadest in the United States.

The trade-off is that the new seating arrangement pushes seating rows closer together, so that the pitch, or distance between the end point on one seat and the same point on the seat ahead, is only 28 inches, according to Conde Nast Traveler. Plus, the seats will no longer recline, coming in a “pre-reclined” mode to save flight attendants from the headaches of in-air legroom fights. The new arrangement adds a total of 12 seats to each flight.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that when people fly Frontier, they probably aren’t expecting a comfortable ride. It’s ranked as one of the five worst airlines in the United States, racking up bumped passengers, complaints, and mishandled bags. Barely more than half of its planes land on time. With such low expectations, flyers might just view the new middle seats as a rare and unexpected perk.

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