United Airlines will be changing the seats on their A320 fleet starting in 2013 according to the Apex blog, switching to the Recaro BL3250 Slimline model. These seats have been adopted by a number of carriers in Europe and which allow for comparable legroom while actually increasing the seat density in the aircraft. As a result of this move the airline expects to add a row of seats to the A320 fleet. The Recaro BL3250s are also being installed by American Airlines in their new 777s as those come on line. Plenty of cost savings to be had with the lighter seats and the higher density means additional revenue opportunity, too.
The widest deployment of these seats currently is probably with Lufthansa. These are the NEK seats they have installed on most of their short-haul fleet. I’ve flown in them a few times and they’re functional and the legroom isn’t an issue. Padding in the seat cushion, however, definitely leaves something to be desired in the Lufthansa version. It will be interesting to see how United configures them. Recaro also has an add-on "Comfort Package" available offering better cushions, power outlets and headrests. It is not clear if United has purchased that package.
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