In early 2012, Southwest Airlines began reducing seat pitch—better known as legroom—in their 737s by a single inch, from 32” to 31”. This allowed them to add an additional six seats per flight.
Southwest runs, on average, 94,350 flights per month at an average price of just $141.72 per seat. These flights, according to the airline, are generally 80% full.
That means, every year that single inch earns them $773,074,040 of additional revenue. I guess every little bit really does count.
Edit (05/16/2013): It’s been pointed out to me by a third party that an alternative—and perhaps more accurate—interpretation of the numbers results in revenues gains closer to $60–100M. Not nearly as much, but still nothing to sneeze at.
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