One Day, That Economy Ticket May Buy You a Place to Stand – New York Times

Wow! I find this so hard to believe. The first thing that came to my mind (aside from how long a flight could I stand?) was how many more passengers can you add before you have to limit luggage so that the maximum weight limit of the plane is not exceeded. Then I got to this paragraph:

That such things are even being considered is a result of several factors. High fuel costs, for example, are making it difficult for carriers to turn a profit. The new seat technology alone, when used to add more places for passengers, can add millions in additional annual revenue. The new designs also reduce a seat’s weight by up to 15 pounds, helping to hold down fuel consumption. A typical seat in economy class now weighs 74 to 82 pounds.

So you save 15 pounds on the seat, but you add 140+? How does that math work? As I have mentioned before, I am ok at flying, but I think this would be too much for me.

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Okay, let’s assume a notional B737, with 100 passengers in economy class. I wouldn’t assume a larger airplane, since those are reserved for longer flights, and standing would be even more problematic.

Assuming 100 passengers, and taking the simple average of the weight range for seats provided, we have 7800 lbs of seats on an airplane.

Following so far?

Now, take out the 15 pounds per seat, and you now have a total seat weight of 6300 lbs. This is a difference of 1500 lbs. Assuming an average passenger weight of 150 pounds, not counting luggage, and we are now looking at being able to add 10 passengers to each flight.

So what happens if we go with the heavier seat rather than the lighter one? Same answer. (really, the math is simpler than I laid out above. 100 passengers, with a 15 pound per seat savings, is 100*15=1500.)

So what should be considered here? Well, what is the allowable Gross take-off weight, and gross landing weight. And cabin space. Are we removing seats? And do they think they can get some number of passengers greater than 1 in a space that currently holds 1?

Interesting problem.