According to research firm Innovata, airplane capacity is once again on the rise. Between October and December it estimates that U.S. airlines will offer 1.3 percent more flights to travelers. So, why should you care? Well, eliminating capacity (the number of planes flying to duplicate destinations) was a technique airlines used to cut fuel and operations costs. They could just pack more travelers into the same planes and charge higher prices. Generally speaking a reduction in capacity limits options for consumers and can result in higher fares – while increases in capacity increases options and can result in lower fares. This means that this could be the year you fly for Christmas or Thanksgiving without paying top dollar.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Hate flying with kids and infants? A handful of Asian carriers are starting to introduce “no kids” sections on their flights. Malaysia Airlines and now Scoot, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, have both introduced child-free seating areas. Let’s see what happens when mommy decides to take her little one for a stroll through the no-kids section on one of these flights.
- Some significant changes are coming to an airline seat near you. In September, Delta will begin receiving the first of dozens of Boeing jets with power outlets at seats throughout the plane. And next year, JetBlue will introduce lie-flat seats on non-stop flights between New York and Los Angeles, and New York and San Francisco. Earlier this year, United began featuring slimmer seats on its Airbus fleet, offering more legroom despite squeezing on extra seats. It will soon be offering these seats on all 152 of its Airbus planes.
- Airlines are still tinkering with boarding processes, trying to get you on and off more efficiently. Alaska Airlines has been experimenting with opening two doors (a novel concept) – one at the front of the plane, and one at the rear. American Airlines is experimenting with letting those who checked their bag or, in some cases, those with just one bag they’ll put under the seat, board first. Ideally, these passengers will simply walk to their row and sit down. The airlines says the technique is occasionally abused by somebody who hoists a carry-on in the overhead bin, but overall it’s shaved a few minutes off the boarding process.