In the airline industry’s eternal pursuit to make economy class unbearable, British Airways has decided to do away with the most basic luxury–reclining seats.
Last January, the airline did away with free booze and in-flight meals on short-haul flights, now the race to the bottom continues. Instead of cavalier passengers reclining seats as they see fit, the seats on British Airways’ new fleet of Airbus planes will be “pre-reclined” to whatever someone decided was a comfortable angle. While the airline first claimed this is a way to fight the so-called “legroom wars” waged between people who like comfort and people who like to eat their meals without someone’s head in their face, when pushed, British Airways admitted the move will allow it to “be more competitive” and “offer more low fares” to customers. A British Airways rep told the Seattle PI that the new seats with the “gentle recline” will also “slightly reduce legroom” from 30 inches down to a mere 29 inches.
Currently, the change will only affect passengers on flights under four hours, but that could always change, especially as British Airways tries to compete with budget airlines like easyJet, Norwegian, and Ryanair, which also has locked seats.