Southwest Airlines turns less legroom into $773M
At least according to a website that figures the carrier added that much revenue from placing seats just an inch closer together.
As the website Unwieldy.net has noted, the airline decided last year to reduce its "seat pitch," better known as legroom, on its Boeing (BA) 737s by an inch, from 33 to 32 inches. By doing so, the fourth-largest U.S. airline was able to add six seats per flight. The Dallas carrier runs about 93,450 flights per month that are about 80% full, with an average ticket price of $141.72.
By Unwieldy's math, that equals exactly $773,074,040 in additional revenue, which for a company that's expected to generate $17.7 billion in sales this year isn't too shabby. A Southwest spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment on the validity of the site's calculation. However, aviation consultant Mike Boyd tells MSN Money that "it passes the smell test. . . . (But) you better have tushies in those chairs."
Less legroom is one of the many reasons flying has become a chore for many people. Airlines last year earned more than $6 billion in fees from checked bags and changed reservations, according to USA Today.
Southwest seems to be doing better than most airlines, though it still faces plenty of challenges. It recently reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings but warned that demand from passengers was softening.
However, as Consumerist notes, shrinking stuff can be very profitable for businesses: "Knocking a single ounce of orange juice from your large jug of OJ might not seem like much to you -- aside from the utter annoyance at paying the same rate for less product -- but it means an ocean of money to the producer."
Jonathan Berr doesn't own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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The airline CEOs made a startling discovery that people WILL let themselves be treated like animals on their planes, and they can make tons of more money without any complaints.
If only they knew how stupid and lame the American people were way back; all the money they've lost by letting people be comfortable all these years thinking the passengers demanded it.
If fact, they should take away ALL the seats and just pile the people on top of each other with their suitcases and let them pee in their pants. Who would complain?
I fly Southwest to Las Vegas twice a year. Yes close seating and yes snacks are free what bugs me is the delays to leave with so many who carry on half the house! Southwest needs to end half of the carry on and speed up push back from gate time.
Also they use a number system to load the jet. But I see and had so many who are to be at the back of the jet in front WHY they cut in line and lie about what there loading number is!
Southwest needs to check who goes on first via there own number system and speed up the lines.
as if the normal seat spacing wasn't already hard enough for anyone over 6' tall...
this is height based discrimation! good thing I live up north. no southwest up here XD
they should go back to the days of the Zepplins (helium filled of course), luxury and class. Although in this fast paced society, probrably would'nt go over to well
You know they can cut whatever they want to cut. I give up!
Has anyone ever done a study to see how many billions that airlines have lost due to people that just said "no" to flying unless they abosolutely have to? I used to fly 10-15 time a year for conferences long weeekends and vacations. I still could fly that many times a year, but choose not to. I am flying, 3-5 times per year, less than 1/3rd of what I used to fly. That is a heck of a loss, I doubt $25-$45 makes up for all of those full fares lost...
Seats are so tight and my hip to knee length allows me to feel any and all movement in the seat in front of me, and if it is a large person or a flopper, I can barely walk down the aisle when deplaneing. Add to that charges for luggage, food, tissues and reduction of the number of economy class toilets. The fact that it now takes a day to go anywhere due to fewer flight choices. We as flyers do have the oportuntiy for great long waits in fithy packed airports,and security lines that wrap around themselves, since everyone flys at the same prime times.
No thanks, I now only fly when I absolutely have to. If they would add 2" to my legroom, include a meal and a checked bag into my ticket price and put at least two toilets in ecomomy class, I for one would probably choose to fly more, adding $4-5,000 into their coffers every year. Oh wait, that is what they did in the 80's and lost money...I guess I will keep driving and taking the train.
I've been flying Southwest for years on the west coast. Enjoy them very much and own a small amount of their stock.
When I fly coast to coast or to Hawaii, I fly Alaska first class. Long flights require stretching of the legs. All you need is the money. Alaska first class is nice.
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