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JetBlue cuts coach legroom to add first class

This move is part of a larger effort by the airline to attract business travellers

Image Credit: AP
JetBlue Airways plans to offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco
Tabloid on Saturday

JetBlue Airways will cut one-inch of legroom from its coach seats on transcontinental flights to make room for a new first-class cabin that will feature lie-flat beds.

The New York-based airline unveiled plans Monday for its first premium service on flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s part of a larger effort by the carrier to attract business travellers, who pay more for last-minute flights.

The new seats will debut on Airbus A321 aircraft in the second quarter of 2014. The aircraft will have 16 seats in the front cabin and 143 in the back. JetBlue aircraft at present have 34-inches legroom from one row of coach seats to the next. That will shrink to 33 inches in the new configuration, according to spokesperson Tamara Young.

New slimmer seats, similar to what other airlines are installing, will help with the adjustment.

“With our new, slimmer seats, we actually maintain the same amount of industry-leading living space,” Young said.

JetBlue markets itself as having the most legroom compared to coaches of other US airlines and for not charging a fee for the first checked bag. It will still have more legroom than its competitors, but the difference won’t be as dramatic.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines offer 31 to 32 inches on most aircraft. United Airlines provides 31 inches, while, Southwest Airlines has 31 to 33 inches, depending on the aircraft.