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Wider seats proposed for overweight US fliers comes at a premium

The rear of an Airbus A320 plane is seen in this undated file photo. (Photo by P. Masclet courtesy of Airbus)

June 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of the world's largest airplane manufacturers is pitching a new solution for overweight American travelers.

France-based Airbus is shopping around a version of its A320 plane to U.S. carriers.

The company proposes that rather than have rows of three seats of the same size, the aisle seats should be wider, while the width of the middle and window seats should be reduced.

That means airlines could still carry the same number of passengers while charging more for those aisle seats. That could help offset the extra fuel cost required to carry overweight passengers, they say.

Airbus came up with the new design in response to carriers saying the most frequent complaint by passengers is that they are forced to sit next to an overweight person who is encroaching into their space. Airbus says those larger seats would be almost as wide as a first class seat on other airliners.