My fellow BA Blogger Kevin from EconomyClassandBeyond (sorry Kev’ but this one is EconomyClassand-NoThanks) we have a post talking about Airbus going to 17″ 3-3-3 on an 330. Double Ugg.
Here we have to give Delta credit for not being really stupid. While their “Comfort Plus” aka C+ seats are no wider than a normal coach seat, at least they are all at least 18″ wide and only 2-4-2 or a total of 8 seats across on the A330 wide body jets.
Delta has some jets that have really tight seats. CRJ200’s have 17.2″ width as well as the narrow body Airbus 319 & 320. But Delta has put 17.2″ seats into the 100 brand new 737-900 jets they have that are replacing many 757’s that are aging and on the way out. Keep in mind they, the 757’s, also had 17.2″ seats so don’t get too up in arms about this change.
But these types of jets are “mostly” used for shorter flights. Yes, the 737-900 is being pushed for some rather longish routes and as a man who does need to drop a few pounds around the midriff, I agree it is not all that great back in coach as far as seat comfort goes (business class is fine other than row 1 that has really tight legroom btw).
Here is the thing and the point of this post. I can tolerate a few hours in a 17″ seat. I don’t like it, but I can stand it. Once we hit the 3 hour mark I am looking at other choices in aircraft and seat choice. While I dislike the quality of the business class seat on the domestic wide body Delta 767-300 the coach seats are just OK and at almost 18″ wide not that bad for longer transcon-ish flights. BTW, Delta flies a bunch of these and when booking a trip I tend to avoid the 737-900 unless I am already in business class choosing this old bird. Folks, a shiny new IFE does not win out over seat comfort.
Now we don’t need to go and get our “torches and pitch forks” and go yelling at the Delta mothership (yet). But I can tell you there is no way I am ever going to fly a Delta 17″ seat to Europe, Asia or anywhere that far, ever. I don’t care how cheap the ticket or how many SkyRubles it takes I am not doing it. I will go to another airline.
Then again, maybe Delta pushing the 737-900 as far as they are has already gone too far. Look what reader Marilyn Roach commented on my review of the Delta 737-900:
“I just flew this model from Atlanta to LAX and my daughters and I sat on the left side front economy (as shown in the picture above) just behind first class. I was not impressed. The only thing going for it is a little extra leg room, but the curtain (you can see it in the picture as well) kept floating back in my face every time the flight attendants would walk between them so I was constantly brushing it off my TV. I am a little heavy so I also struggled in the seats since they are more narrow. I wasn’t very comfortable at all. Also, since I wasn’t in first class the Delta flight attendants would not let me use the rest room in the front of the plane, so I had to walk all the way back to the far end of the plane to use the facilities, and the isle is also more narrow, so I had to walk sideways all the way back. I was miserable the whole way. Honestly almost made me decide to never fly again, that’s how uncomfortable it was. Luckily, on the flight back we were on a different style where there were bathrooms in the middle and the seats were just a little wider. Also the isle was wider. Even though we weren’t sitting in economy comfort, I was more comfortable.”
I hear you Marilyn. BTW, Delta flight attendants hate, I mean HATE, the 737-900 because the galley is super tiny and the aisles, as we just saw from Marilyn, are tight. The bathrooms are ridiculously tiny. I often jokingly comment you have to “stand outside” to use them as they are so tiny you can not get inside. Yeah they are that small if you have not been in one.
The airline industry is all about the dollar. If they can get away with nasty changes they will. Delta has this year decimated the SkyRubles program and no one seems to care (other than me). Maybe if Delta ever makes the choice to put 17″ seats on long haul flights people will at long last care and push back. Would that be the last straw for you? You tell me? – René