United Airlines is slimming down when it comes to airplane seats.
The new seats are lighter and skinnier than the seats they will replace, and they should represent some sort of cost savings for the carrier. Whether they will be comfortable remains to be seen. Many European airlines, including Lufthansa, use some version of this seat, which is made by a company called Recaro. Those European seats are notoriously uncomfortable — they lack much padding — but United officials have said their version will be improved. (Part of the reason the European airlines can get away with less comfortable seats is because their average flight lengths are generally less than U.S. carriers.)
On Thursday, United released pictures of the new seats. They’ll first be installed on some regional jets operated by United Express carriers. Eventually, United plans to install 60,000 seats on more than 500 airplanes. United officials hope to have 400 aircraft complete by 2015, according to a release.
Do these seats look comfortable to you? Notice the magazine compartment, which actually moves to the top of the seat from its usual position. That should give you a little extra knee room.