Flights to Europe May Soon Be a Lot Less Comfortable, but Cheaper

Planes originally designed to fly shorter distances are in it for the long haul

Airline seats
More airlines are taking trans-Atlantic flights for less cash and leg room. (Nicolas Economou/ SOPA Images/ LightRocket via Getty)
By Ariel Scotti / June 18, 2019 10:22 am

Nonstop flights between smaller cities — say, Durham and Amsterdam — might soon be available on more airlines for less money. But the planes are going to be a lot smaller than what you’re used to for trans-Atlantic flights.

Planes originally designed to fly shorter distances, like the Boeing 737, 757 and Airbus A320, all have smaller cabins with narrower bodies that can house only one aisle and provide fewer precious legroom inches per passenger. Some of them even have to make pit stops to refuel on long-haul flights or after they’ve battled tough headwinds, according to The Wall Street Journaland the sinks in the teeny bathroom stalls will be akin to dog bowl-size. And they’ll soon be coming to an international terminal near you.

But the new Airbus A321LR, a single-aisle, narrow-body jet, will push the limits of the five- or six-hour trips it and other smaller planes are expected to make, “radically changing” the European travel market for Americans, the Journal reported. A Chief Executive at JetBlue even believes that they’ll be able to get their prices down once they expand to Europe in 2021.

While JetBlue also thinks it will be able to hold on to its already generous (by comparison) space between seats, Boeing currently has nothing on deck to compete with the discount liner or the Airbus plane. On JetBlue, passengers get a luxurious 32 inches of seat depth. On the 757s American, Delta and United fly across the pond, it’s 31 inches. And on American’s brand new A321s, it’s 30 inches.

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