PHOTO: British Airways' Boeing 747 in San Diego. (Photo by Jason Leppert)
Officials from British Airways have announced the airline is reducing the amount of legroom on short-haul flights for economy passengers by adding two extra rows of seats onto its Airbus planes.
According to FoxNews.com, passengers flying on British Airways’ fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft are now forced to deal with a reduced gap between seats, dropping from 30 inches to 29 inches. That means British Airways now offers the same legroom as low-cost carrier EasyJet and one inch less than Irish low-cost airline Ryanair.
The reduced legroom is just the latest step taken by British Airways to offer service comparable to low-cost carriers competing in the same markets. In January, the airline stopped serving free food and drink on all short-haul services. Earlier in 2016, British Airways also changed its free meal service on long-haul economy flights of less than eight-and-a-half hours, cutting from two free meals to one.
The increase in the number of seats on each Airbus is another way for the company to offer customers lower fares.
While officials at British Airways support the changes, many travelers and industry insiders—including the Telegraph’s Travel consumer editor Nick Trend—have classified the move to smaller seats as a misstep.
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“This strikes me as a significant mistake by British Airways,” Trend said. “If it has one invaluable asset as an airline, it is that many customers still believe they will get a better experience flying with BA than with cheaper alternatives such as Ryanair. That’s a hard reputation to win, and an easy one to lose.”