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Friday, November 28, 2014         

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Fliers give 'slim-line' seats a big fat no

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:



"Slim-line" seats, with thinner seat-back cushions, are increasingly popular with airlines because they weigh less and help squeeze in more passengers.

But the seats may not be so popular with passengers. A new survey by the travel website TripAdvisor shows that many passengers who have tried slim-line seats are not fans.

In the survey of 1,391 travelers, the website found that nearly half weren't sure whether they had sat in slim-line seats. But of those who said they had tried the seats, 83 percent said they were less comfortable than traditional seats, 8 percent said the slim-line seats were more comfortable, and 9 percent said they couldn't tell the difference.

Delta Air Lines is the latest of several major carriers to announce plans to install slim-line seats. Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec said the TripAdvisor survey was lacking because it didn't ask passengers which airlines they flew when they tried the seats. The airline's internal surveys show passengers like Delta's slim-line seats, he said.

United, Alaska, Southwest and Spirit are among the other major airlines that have installed slimmer, lighter seats in the last few years.

At United, internal passenger surveys show that the slim-line seats get higher ratings several months after being installed, suggesting the seats get more comfortable over time, an airline spokesman said.

On business, fast food is preferred

Business travel has rebounded from the Great Recession, but lots of travelers remain frugal when spending company money on the road.

That was one of the findings of a new report that analyzed millions of business travel expense reports.

For breakfast, the most frequent eatery for business travelers was Starbucks — 14 percent of travelers bought food from the coffee shop, spending an average of $8.44 per meal, according to an analysis for the last three months of 2013 by Certify, a travel and expense report management company in Portland, Maine. The company processed more than 15 million expense reports and receipts in 2013, worth about $4.5 billion.

For lunch and dinner, the most frequent expense report was for the fast-food giant McDonald's, for an average lunch cost of $7.19, and $7.47 for dinner, the report said.

--Hugo Martin / Los Angeles Times





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