Southwest Air: Less Legroom = More Passenger$

Remember those crazy days a half-century ago, when students crammed as many bodies as possible into phone booths or Volksbugs? It seems SW is following the same tack now to make more money.

SW is one of our favorite airlines, and we’ve been flying it for years because of the economical ticket prices, on-time record and friendly crews. However, rising fuel and other costs are forcing SW to join other airlines to dig wherever possible to make money. It was charging extra for boarding first, then added baggage fees and now squeezed seating.

SW seating has never been roomy, but some company beancounters deduced that by moving the rows a mere inch closer, from 33 to 32, they could jam in another six seats per flight. Some computations indicate that the space subtraction could bring an addition of nearly $800 million a year in increased SW revenues.

We long-time SW flyers can manage the short flights while jammed into the smaller spaces, but could have problems with those four- to eight-hour hops. Way to go, SW! Now, if someone could redesign the single-commode toilets into four-seaters...

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