If you have flown recently and felt that your airplane seat was a big more snug than you anticipated, rest assured—it likely wasn’t you who changed size, but rather, the seat itself! Many of the major U.S. airlines, such as Southwest, United, Alaska and others, are taking out their current standard seats and replacing them with “slimline” models, which take up less space from front to back.

Airlines replacing plane seats with slimmer ones to allow for more capacity

Using the new seats allows these major airlines to fit five or six additional seats onto each plane, allowing airlines to happily sell more seats per flight. Plus, since these new slimline models are literally lighter, the airlines also potentially save some money on fuel.

Many of the airlines say you won’t notice the seat replacements at all. Things you may notice, however, are thinner padding, slightly narrower aisles and tighter legroom; newer seats are roughly an inch closer together from front to back. Some airlines, like Alaska, had to use smaller tray tables to accommodate the new seats.

The new, slimmer seats being added to planes doesn’t surprise us at CheapAir, as the trend for airlines to charge for every aspect of your in-flight experience—from seats to meals to bags—continues. But what we’re curious about is if you even notice these new slimmer seats—have you flown in planes with them? Do you notice the thinner padding or does it feel the same? Share your experience in the comments.


  1. These new seats allow the airlines to give the 1st class passengers extra room so they can recline all the way back to sleeping position. Think about that the next time you find your knees in you chin.