Airline Widens Its Planes’ Middle Seats

September 7, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. widen /ˈwaɪd n/ (v.) – to make something wider
Example: The citizens demanded that the city government widen the roads.

2. redesign /ˌridɪˈzaɪn/ (v.) – to change the design or structure of something
Example: The plane’s exterior will be redesigned this month.

3. reputation /ˌrɛp yəˈteɪ ʃən/ (n.) – the shared and public opinion about someone or something
Example: The pilot has a reputation of being late.

4. flight attendant /flaɪt əˈtɛn dənt/ (n.) – an airline employee who serves passengers during a flight
Example: The flight attendant was very polite to the passengers.

5. adjustment /əˈdʒʌst mənt/ (n.) – a minor change done to improve something
Example: The passengers had to make adjustments in their schedules because of the cancelled flight.


Read the text below.
Frontier Airlines plans to widen the middle seats in some of its aircraft.

The airline, which is based in Denver, Colorado, will redesign its middle seats to make them larger than the window or aisle seats. The middle seats will be 19 inches wide, making them the widest middle seats among all the other airplanes in the United States. Although the budget airline has a reputation for charging extra for drinks and carry-on bags, the new seats will not come with additional charges.

To prevent any problems related to space, the seats will also be in a fixed pre-reclined position. This design will save flight attendants the trouble of having to tell passengers to be seated in an upright position. These redesigned middle seats will be installed this year in Frontier Airlines’ A320 and A319 planes.

While the seats will be wider, passengers sitting in the new middle seats will still have to make some adjustments. For instance, the seats only have a 28-inch leg room, which is two inches less than the current leg room available in other seats. The middle seats also have less padding and may be less comfortable than other seats.

Aside from Frontier Airlines, another airline has also started redesigning its seats. Southwest Airlines, a Dallas-based airline, announced that its new planes will generally have wider seats. While the new seats will only be 17.8 inches wide, the seats have more leg room, an adjustable head rest, and a more personal storage area. This new design will be launched in 2016.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A 

·         Which would you prefer: a wider seat or more leg room? Why?
·         What other improvements can the airline do to its aircraft?

Discussion B

·         If you were to travel via plane, would you pay more money for more comfort? Why or why not?
·         How else can airlines draw more customers? 

September 7, 2015