Airlines reducing seat widths to add more seats

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 24, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right. Well, next time you get on a plane, you better make nice with the person sitting next to you, because some airlines are now adding an extra seat, leaving you with about 17 inches to park your rear.

Even a stadium seat is bigger. We have actually done the comparison.

To travel expert Mark Murphy, who unfortunately is very thin and fits in any of the above seats.

But your argument is that people are going to have to get used to this.



MURPHY: Because they're not -- they're not going to -- they're not going to put extra room in the planes in the back of the plane. If you want that extra room, you're going to pay extra for it.

And that's that a la carte pricing that the airlines have come up with. United has economy-plus and they have these comfort seats. But it's an extra $80, $70 to pay for that.



CAVUTO: All right, so how many seats in a typical plane across the board?

MURPHY: So, it depends on the aircraft.

CAVUTO: Right.

MURPHY: There are so many different aircrafts out there.

But let's say it used to be eight in the row. Now they're putting nine. If it used to be nine, now they're putting 10 in the row. So, what is happening is...

CAVUTO: So, each seat has been shaved a little bit?

MURPHY: Exactly.

So, now you're talking about a width that at one point got to 18-and- a-half inches is now down to 17 inches and in some cases going to be under 17 inches wide. The pitch, the space between you and the guy in front of you, at one point was 34 inches. Now it's down to 28 inches on some flights. So, they're getting you on all sides.

CAVUTO: And then he puts his seat back and it's game over.


(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: So, 17 inches wide?


CAVUTO: Twiggy is -- is wider than that.

MURPHY: Correct. Correct.

And, you know, you look at the people. People are getting bigger. So...

CAVUTO: Why are you looking at me as you're saying that?

MURPHY: I didn't, I swear. I wasn't looking.


CAVUTO: So, they're obviously making money on this.


CAVUTO: But how do you advise folks on how to get around this? Or can they get around it?

MURPHY: They can't get around it.

So, what happens is, if you want the cheapest ticket on the plane, you are going to suck it up.


MURPHY: Now, what they have done is they have created a bunch of entertainment options and other amenities in coach class on these long-haul flights. So, they want to distract you, keep you comfortable despite the seat. And that definitely helps.

CAVUTO: All right, so let's say that this catches on. As you have been reporting, you have been ahead of this curve, it's catching on. People are doing it. Airlines are doing it.

I mean, are they going to try to squeeze in an extra seat in the future?


MURPHY: As much as they can.

I mean, what they have also done is, they're putting in these special seats that are much thinner.


MURPHY: So, they're thinning down the seats and hopefully keeping the comfort. They're squeezing you in terms of the space. They're adding more seats and everything else.

CAVUTO: Oh, my God.

MURPHY: And then they're whacking you on the fees.

CAVUTO: All right.

MURPHY: That's how it goes.

CAVUTO: Alright Mark Murphy, thank you. Russell Brand -- I want you to think of the seat arrangement we presently have and to go ahead and sit in coach and deal with this.

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