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Spirit announces 'pre-reclined' seats that don't adjust

April 23, 2010 |  2:07 pm

Spirit seats1 Spirit Airlines, the Florida-based air carrier that recently announced a $45 fee for carry-on bags, has launched another change that my not sit well with passengers.

The air carrier's latest money-saving idea is a seat that passengers cannot adjust. The airline calls them "pre-reclined" seats, meaning they are already reclined about three inches. 

What to lean back to take a nap or sit up to eat a snack? Sorry, these seats won't budge.

The airline says the slim new leather seats, built by Pacoima-based Brice Seating, are 30% lighter, cutting down on fuel costs and offering 20% more space under the seat. By eliminating a steeper recline, the airline can also fit more seats into the plane.

Spirit can seat about 33 more passengers in the new seats in the airline's new Airbus A320 than in an older Airbus model with traditional reclining seats.

"In addition to providing an even greater recline and more living space, the lightweight design substantially lowers our fuel consumption, which is one of our greatest operating costs," chief marketing officer Barry Biffle said.

Passengers can try the new seats on two Airbus A320 planes that Spirit flies between Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Washington, D.C., and New York's LaGuardia Airport. Spirit plans to put two more A320 planes in the air in the next few months.

Spirit's $45 fee for carry-on bags takes effect in August. The airline won't charge for carry-ons that fit under the seat. Five of the nation's largest airlines have vowed not to follow Spirit's lead with new carry-on fees. 

--Hugo Martin

Photo: The new "pre-reclined" seats from Spirit Airlines. Credit: Brice Seating