Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has rolled out a roomier airplane seat dubbed the “Giant Seat.”
It represents the latest new seating options the airline industry has created for travelers willing to pay more for extra elbow room.
Located in the first row and the mid-cabin emergency exit row, the six Giant Seats on the carrier’s Boeing 757 offer more than 36 inches of legroom and a width of 25 inches, compared with a typical 17.5-inch width on Allegiant’s economy seats. The seats are locked in a semi-reclined position.
Allegiant was required under federal rules to install such seats so crew members can rest during long flights. But when pilots and crew are not using the roomier seats, the airline is offering them up to paying passengers.
Allegiant charges about $40 to $50 more for the Giant Seats, depending on the route.
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines is coming out with its own extra-wide seats — 17.8 inches in width — when it debuts its new Boeing 737 Max jets in 2017.
“Smart airlines are starting to look at their cabins almost like retailers,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group. “Their objectives are similar to retailers as well: maximize their revenue per square foot.”
In fact, nearly every major carrier has a roomier version of its standard economy seat.
Virgin America offers “Main Cabin Select," US Airways has “Choice Seats,” United has “Economy Plus,” JetBlue has “Even More Space,” Delta has “Economy Comfort” and American has “Main Cabin Extra” seats.
In addition to the “Giant Seats,” Allegiant has a new “Legroom +” seat with up to 34 inches of legroom, compared with the regular 30-inch space.
The Legroom + seats are about $6 to $32 extra.