Spirit Airlines is encouraging the airline industry to
rethink the primary metric it uses to assess passenger comfort.
Pitch, defined as the space between a point on one seat and
the same point on the seat in front of it, is the most-referenced metric when
it comes to cabin configurations.
Spirit says a more relevant measurement should be "usable
legroom," which it defines as the distance from the middle point of the
seat cushion to the furthest point on the back of the seat in front.
Spirit flies the densest aircraft in the U.S. airline
industry with 28 inches of pitch on all but its first two rows. The carrier said
it is installing new seats that will have the same pitch as the current ones
but two more inches of usable legroom. Spirit will begin installing the seats in
November and continue throughout 2020.
Source: Spirit Airlines
The budget airline unveiled its' "usable legroom" proposal in
concert with the reveal of the seats Monday at the Airline Passenger Experience
Expo in Los Angeles.
Spirit, in partnership with designer Acro Aircraft Seating,
will accomplish the extra legroom with a more curved seatback. The curvature
will enable passengers to sit further back in the seat, gaining extra room for
the knees, assuming the knees are slightly spread.
Spirit also says the curved seats will facilitate a
comfortable posture. They offer thicker padding than existing Spirit seats as
well as ergonomically-designed lumbar support, the carrier said. Middle seats
will have 18 inches of width, up from the existing 17.75 inches. Window and
aisle seat widths will be 17 inches.
Spirit's new Big Seat will have a redesigned headrest with memory foam and additional memory foam in the seat cushion.
The seats will feature full-sized tray tables, replacing the
mini-tray tables Spirit currently deploys. Seatbacks will be set with nearly an
inch more recline than current Spirit seats, though they still won't move
forward or backward from their set position.
In addition, Spirit is will refresh its Big Front Seats, the
carrier's higher-end product in the first two rows. The new seats will have a
redesigned headrest with memory foam and additional memory foam in the seat