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United might install skinnier seats

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To squeeze more profits from each plane, the airline industry in the last few years has begun to install extra rows of seats, leading to a crunch in legroom that has sparked tiffs and feuds among frustrated passengers.

Now the squeeze may be on passenger hip room.

United Airlines is considering introducing an economy section on its long-haul Boeing 777-200 with rows of 10 seats abreast — instead of the current rows of nine, according to Aviation Week magazine.

The new configuration would enable the airline to add up to 100 seats to each plane, depending on the current seat configuration.

In a statement, United declined to confirm the report, saying only, "We evaluate lots of options across our fleet and haven’t made any further announcements specific to the 777 fleet."

Passengers sitting in United’s current nine-seat economy configuration get a seat width of 18 inches. On European and Middle Eastern airlines that fly the 777-200, which use 10 seats abreast, the seat width is only 17 inches.

American Airlines is now the only major U.S. carrier with the 10-seat-per-row configuration, according to SeatGuru.com, a website that compares airline seat features.

If the trend of squeezing seat width continues, it could clash with another unfortunate U.S. trend: More than one-third of American adults are obese, a rate that has been on the rise since the 1970s, according to federal health statistics.

DELTA SERVES UP WINNING BEVERAGE

Next time you board a Delta Air Lines flight, you may be sharing a seat with Jack and Joe.

That’s the name of a new drink created by an Atlanta-based Delta flight attendant, whose cocktail recipe won an international contest among flight attendants. Three finalists were chosen to compete in a "taste-off" judged by Delta’s onboard service department and a team of flight attendants.

The Jack and Joe drink took first place.

The drink, now available on most Delta flights, combines Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey whiskey with coffee and Baileys Irish Cream. The price: $10.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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