When describing airline seats, Spirit wants to ditch the pitch

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Spirit says its redesigned seats create more legroom.
Spirit says its redesigned seats create more legroom.

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.
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 cushion.

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