There’s a lot to be said about middle seats…
- You don’t have anywhere to rest your head to the side
- You don’t have easy aisle access
- You won’t get an armrest, not even one, if your seatmates are jerks about it (if that’s the case, I recommend this).
Yeah…pretty much, the only good thing middle seats have going for them is that you don’t have to pay extra for them (not even on Basic Economy!). And no wonder – NOBODY WANTS THEM!
But what if there was a situation where, no matter what, you could board a plane and know you will not get a middle seat? It can happen! Here’s how…
The new Embraer E190-E2 model of planes, like the Embraers before it, have no middle seats! Not even in the back of the plane where the “common folk” go!
Although the planes can be built to an individual airline’s specifications, some aspects that’ll increase comfort are guaranteed benefits:
- Overhead bins are 40% larger so it’s easier to fit carry on bags and not have to worry that a Nazi gate agent will stop you and say your carry on bag won’t fit in the overhead (it happened to not once, but TWICE!).
- There are no under-seat support rails to impede legroom or under-the-seat-in-front-of-you space.
- The windows are bigger than what’s usually found on commercial flights.
- The planes have NO MIDDLE SEATS! You can get a window seat or an aisle seat. Period.
“Preserving passenger personal space is the goal,” Rodrigo Silva e Souza, vice-president of marketing for Embraer Commercial Aviation, told CNN Travel. The interiors of the E2 aircraft aim for a “wide-body cabin feel” to “give passengers the impression of having greater space, or of being on a larger aircraft.”
As we’ve reported recently, in an attempt to save on fuel costs, airlines do all sorts of crazy things to decrease plane weight and the E190-E2s are purposely being built with decreased weight and increased fuel efficiency in mind. Lighter plane = better fuel efficiency = costs less to fly them and/or, since they’re smaller aircraft, opportunity to use the planes on more than just the shortest of flights.
Although airlines out of Norway, Brazil, Kuwait, Switzerland and Kazakhstan have ordered new planes from Embraer in recent months, so far no U.S.-based airlines have expressed interest. However as per FlightGlobal, Embraer has highlighted Alaska Airlines, Spirit and United as the U.S. carriers most likely to benefit from replacing some of their current narrow-body fleet with E2 jets.
Will these carriers eventually see the light? Those of us often stuck in the middle seat can only hope.
Meanwhile, an E190-E2 painted like a great white shark is doing a world tour to give people an idea of the aircraft.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary