Last updated: 01:04 PM ET, Mon July 13 2015

Frontier Airlines Will Make Middle Seats 'Less Uncomfortable'

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | July 13, 2015

Frontier Airlines Will Make Middle Seats 'Less Uncomfortable'

Does an extra inch qualify as breathing room?

Frontier Airlines thinks so. In an effort to make the dreaded middle seat slightly more desirable, the Denver-based ultra low-cost carrier plans to add an extra inch of width to them, according to Brian Sumers of Condé Nast Traveler

Frontier claims that the 19-inch-wide middle seats will be the widest among U.S. carriers. 

"This will make sitting in the middle seat a little less uncomfortable," said Frontier's chief commercial officer Daniel Shurz. 

Despite the added width, passengers sitting in the new middle seats will have two fewer inches between their seat and the seat of front of them. However Frontier is quick to point out that the seats are pre-reclined, meaning passengers won't have to worry about potentially having their legs crushed by the person sitting in front of them. 

Fewer inches of pitch means Frontier can fit more seats on a plane, in turn boosting profit.

"The cost of operating an airplane is basically the same no matter how many seats you put on it," Shurz told Condé Nast Traveler. "We are spreading the cost of operating the airplane across more seats."

Frontier plans to add a dozen new seats to each of its Airbus A320s and A319s this year and is on pace to become the first U.S. carrier to operate an A320 with 186 seats. Keep in mind that United Airlines operates its A320 with just 150 seats. Fortunately for Frontier customers, the additional seats aren't expected to eat up any more legroom as the aircraft's configuration allows the bathroom to be moved to the scarcely used galley. 

The result will be slightly smaller bathrooms, but Shurz doesn't believe it will be an issue. 

"Customers fly on regional aircraft all the time when they can't stand up in the lavatory," said Shurz via Condé Nast Traveler. "They handle that just fine."

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