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United Airlines The Latest Carrier To Make Its Coach Seats Smaller

United Airlines is just the latest carrier to introduce lighter-weight seats with slimmer backrests. (credit: CBS 2)

United Airlines is just the latest carrier to introduce lighter-weight seats with slimmer backrests. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just when you thought flying coach couldn’t get more cramped, get ready for a tighter squeeze.

In the airline industry, more seat rows mean more dollars. To cram more of us in coach, airlines — including United Airlines — are slimming seats to add more of them.

“I can’t imagine them getting any smaller,” one woman told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

“It’s getting a little tight for everyone,” said another.

United Airlines is the latest airline to make its coach seats smaller.

Over the next year, 152 of its planes will be retrofitted with seats that are lighter-weight with slimmer backrests.

The airline promises they will be comfortable even though the space between seats will be reduced by a full inch and the passenger next to you will be closer.

“It’s hard to stay off of one another and nobody wants somebody they don’t know all over them, so you know it’s tough,” said passenger Cathy Hiers.

United Airlines said this will allow leg room to remain the same, while money-making seats — as many as six additional seats per aircraft — are added.

The airline is also upgrading Wi-Fi, making it available on its entire fleet.

“Trying to use a keyboard while you’re all cramped up. I don’t even use my laptop anyway because it’s almost impossible to do,” said passenger Paul Sonnier.

“You have to be comfortable. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re going to have Wi-Fi.”

United is not the only airline making the changes. Spirit, Alaska and Southwest airlines are also going with slimmer, lighter seats.