David Heffernan, a member of the firm's Transportation & Trade Group and co-chair of the Aviation Industry Team, authored "The Safety and Comfort of Your Airline Seat" for Forbes. Seats on U.S. airlines are shrinking, you’re right. U.S. airlines have introduced clean, visually attractive new aircraft to their fleets, with mood lighting and larger overhead baggage space, but the seat dimensions in basic economy class on many of those aircraft have been reduced. The “big three” U.S. network carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, all have some aircraft with a 30-inch seat pitch (which is the length from one spot on a given seat to the same spot on the seat in front or behind), while lower-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines have seat pitches as low as 28 inches. The network airlines such as Delta and American defend the practice as part of an overall strategy to differentiate their premium economy and other seating options, as they attempt to incentivize customers to pay more for a larger seat.
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