Airlines are aiming to cram in as many seats as possible onboard
You've all been there: packed into a long haul flight like so many sweaty hairs in an armpit, knees being worn to bloody stumps by the seat in front, babies screaming like sirens signalling the impending apocalypse that you'd welcome with open arms if it would JUST GET YOU OFF THIS FLIGHT.
If you can't afford to escape from economy class - and if you're on a gap year you almost certainly can't - flying can be a miserable experience. And it looks like things are about to get worse. New aircraft due to roll out within the next two years are going to put space at an even higher premium by adding as many seats as will inhumanely fit.
The new Boeing 737 MAX will have 189 seats, while Airbus's new A320neo manages 195.
The worst culprit though, in a turn of events surprising exactly no one, comes courtesy of Ryanair, that mincing pantomime villain of the travel industry. The budget airline has placed a £7.5 billion order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircrafts. The titular "200" comes upon special request from Ryanair, who insisted on that many seats being squeezed onboard.
In related news, we're all going to die of blood clots.
"It means that we are going to expand and grow very strongly in Europe, both in new markets and in going in and taking traffic away from incumbent carriers," said Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. "I hope it will hasten in an era of a new price war in Europe over the next 10 years."
Reports that he then whipped his cape around his shoulders and scurried into the night while slurping the marrow from a cow's thigh bone remain unconfirmed.
The new aircraft are expected to raise an extra £730,000 in revenue per plane per year, money that will definitely not go toward improving Ryanair's labyrinthine website. The Boeing 737 MAX 200 will deliver its goal by using 'slim seating,' a worrying fact given that Ryanair's seats are already amongst the narrowest offered by major airlines at just 16 inches.
This was Flight Centre's April Fools joke this year; it's already starting to look worryingly prescient.