I can't believe that most of you guys'd rather pay for extra seat pitch rather than seat width. Maybe it's just that I'm a squat person, but I'd love to have a wider seat.
Admittedly there would be some lost seats. But you have to figure that:
1) There are some empty seats on every flight, anyway. The expected load factor is maybe 80%. In recessionary times, the load factor goes down anyway.
2) The carrier charges the passenger more anyway.
Factor (2) explains why my hypothetical carrier would only charge 10% more for giving 30% more space (increasing legroom to 37" and turning a 777 into 2-4-2... space goes up on a square foot basis) I figure that in UA's domestic 777's, there are 318 coach pax. Given an 80% load factor, they collect 254 coach-pax-revenue units on average.
If I got to that plane, it'd hold 244 coach pax. Since there are both fewer seats on my plane, it'd be easy to fill up; plus, we sell 10 fewer low fare tickets on places like priceline.com. The base average fare for my carrier would be larger since we squeeze out the low fare passenger who was taken on to fill seats. Figure the average fare goes up 2%. Add the 10% extra fare that the passenger THINKS is justified since he gets more space, and you get 1.1 * 1.02 and therefore we get
273 coach-pax-revenue units on average.
Of course all of this depends on us flying the planes full, or at least 92% full to get the same amount of revenue per planeload that other carriers get. That's the problem. Would enough people go for my carrier since it offers 30% more room for 10% more cost?
This is of course only an international carrier. It wouldn't make any sense to do anything other than cattle car the pax from Duluth to Minneapolis.
I figure we could get all those passengers since I'd offer some unique service enhancements and codeshare with jetBlue. I'm figuring on adding the following:
1) Connexion Internet ports on my aircraft for uninterupted Internet service to pax with Ethernet cards. We'd also rent portable computers at cost for the pax. Initially, the price would be low enough to cover the costs; then, as pax find that they'd rather fly with my carrier, we'd rachet it up.
2) Instead of PTVs (and paying obscene prices for installation and maintenance) , offering a free DVD player rental to every passenger who wants it
3) Having a seperate lounge at our hub with nice seats and enforced quiet zones.