Air New Zealand is shrinking leg room

This drives me nuts. Air NZ is plonking an extra row of seats into domestic planes.

Seating was already cramped for passengers of medium height and those taller than 1.9 metres (6ft 3in) “find it uncomfortable as it is”, Mr Thomas said.

It’s uncomfortable for me at 6ft. It’s not just about the literal leg room, it’s about the space between me, my laptop and the seat in front. I already dread getting on a plane – and that claustrophobic feeling of being in a box. The cramped space increases the stress levels for passengers and staff, resulting in an increasingly unpleasant experience.

“Air New Zealand spokeswoman Tracey Palmer said leg room would be tightened particularly near the rear of the aircraft.”

No no No – Jet Blue has this one sorted – make the seats in the rear of the plane have more legroom than the ones at the front – that way you can choose between convenience or comfort.

“Other cabin design changes would reduce the weight of the aircraft, largely offsetting the increased weight of six passengers.” 

Start by getting rid of the food trolleys and hand out food by, err, hand – again like Jet Blue.  But I wonder what those design changes are.

It seems that much of the business travel has migrated to AirNZ – the Koru lounges are like train stations at rush hour, the planes are full, I have to be earlier than 13 minutes before the flight to check in, and I get a seat a third of the way back from the front. They do have lots of flights, and those check in machines are excellent.

Meanwhile Qantas lounges are empty, their planes are less full, they are tolerant of me turning up 10 minutes before the flight, and I always get a seat in the front 3 rows. Shame their planes are often late – which is why AirNZ is getting the traffic.

When I was in the US I recall that American Airlines removed a row or two of seats, and I became a loyal customer. Later, when things got tough, they put them back – so I flipped to Jet Blue and SouthWest and have never looked back. If Qantas can sort their reliability (another plane perhaps?) then AirNZ may rue this decision.

Published by Lance Wiggs


2 replies on “Air New Zealand is shrinking leg room”

  1. It’s no fun being over six foot in economy, not just in terms of leg room. Everything’s agonisingly cramped. I realise this is an “incentive” to make people pay full business class fares, but these are on the other hand sky-high (NPI) due to the lack of competition, and not justifiable/available on most domestic routes anyway.

    I suspect the only thing that’ll change airlines’ attitudes towards sardining passengers is a big fat DVT lawsuit.


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