Economy Minus

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
October 21, 2014, 9:46 PM GMT+0

There have been recent murmurings in the press about a new “Economy Minus “ class on planes featuring seats with even smaller legroom. The new service has not yet been connected to a specific airline.

After a few notable air rage incidents involving “Knee Defenders,” and irate passengers defending their legroom, it would seem that smaller seating room is the last thing passengers are willing to put up with.

Not so.

Americans are extremely price sensitive when it comes to flying. Flight pricing is very important to 86% of Americans who have ever flown compared to checked luggage pricing (55%), direct flight routes (48%) and legroom (34%).

42% of Americans who have flown said that they would be likely to purchase an “Economy Minus” ticket offering lower prices for reduced legroom. 15% said that they were very likely to purchase smaller cheaper seats. Women are more likely than men to consider downgrading to a smaller seat (47% compared to 37%) and Millennials (51%) are more likely than those aged 50+ (32%).

Please imagine airlines offered an option to purchase a ticket for a seat with less legroom at a lower price. How likely or unlikely would you be to purchase such a ticket?

Even frequent fliers are likely to be tempted by the tradeoff with 21% of frequent fliers (4 flights a year or more) very likely to choose price over comfort. They were also more likely to have the mooted “Economy Minus” fares on their radar. 22% had heard about it before taking the survey, compared with only 12% of those who have ever traveled by airplane.

Half of Americans who have flown (50%) do, however, say that lack of space is one of the things they dislike about flying, and 20% often or always check sites like SeatGuru or for additional information about seating layout and sizing. This is slightly more common than checking websites for airline safety record (17%). 59% think that seating is already too small and should not be further reduced.

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Image courtesy of Press Association

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