The trend in aviation in recent years has been to maximize the number of economy seats on aircraft which inevitably means minimizing room for passengers and it’s a trend that isn’t likely to stop as the airlines look for every square inch to squeeze out profits.

Here in Canada, WestJet has quietly retrofitted most of its Boeing 737 fleet in the last year to add up to five more seats but contends passengers won’t notice any difference as the new Wi-Fi enabled slim-line Recaro seats will actually increase seat pitch by an inch. WestJet’s economy seat pitch across it’s 119 aircraft fleet varies from 30 inches on the regional Encore Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes to 31 – 33 inches with seat width averaging 17 inches across it’s Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft.

As of 31st December 2016 Air Canada’s fleet numbered 346 aircraft including its regional Air Canada Express commuter carrier and has a far greater number of aircraft types than WestJet. Seat pitch varies between 30 inches on it’s no-frills charter airline-like subsidiary Air Canada Rouge to 34 inches on its Embraer regional and trans border jets with seat width between 17 and 18 inches. Worth noting however is that Air Canada’s long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft has only 31 inch economy seat pitch which on a 13-hour flight Vancouver – Hong Kong for example may be more confining than expected.

Air Transat had a reputation as a charter airline that tightly packed its planes but heeded its passenger complaints and actually removed seats earlier this decade to bring its seat pitch inline with its scheduled airline competition. Their fleet of Airbus aircraft features economy seat pitch between 32 and 33 inches with seat with at 17 inches except on the older Airbus A310 planes where seat with is a more narrow 16.5 inches.

Among Canadian airlines Sunwing has the tightest seat pitch at 29 inches on its Boeing 737 aircraft with 17 inch seat width. Like most of its competitors, Sunwing has a roomier section of seats at the front of its flight with seat pitch of up to 35 inches but unlike the others the price premium to confirm these Sunwing seats is fairly low at $100 roundtrip per person which is a fraction of the price of Air Canada’s Premium Economy or WestJet’s Plus seats.

These size stat.’s have been taken from airline websites or Seat Guru except Sunwing which is here and are for regular economy seats excluding seats in emergency exit rows that feature several inches more room.

Does the trend of shrinking economy airline seats sit well with you? Post a comment.