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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well, thanks a lot! You are certainly helping the airlines deliver their most miserable product ever.
    This is exactly the kind of excuses they hand out.
    Wow, have you missed some major factors.
    First, over the past five, ten, twenty years there has been huge growth in world population. More people; more flying, except there are not a lot more flights on each route.
    Airlines have opened new routes throughout the world, but they limit the number of flights and the size of the planes, especially in the US.
    Yes, airlines crowd in seats, and they also add fees right-left-and center. But most important, they either cut the number of flights or do not add flights for increased demand.
    The message is: ‘if you want to go, you have to go at our times, our conditions…period.’ Oh, and if you do not want to suffer, pay a lot more. A LOT.
    It is absolute nonsense that people are not voting with their wallets.
    BUT we have fewer and fewer options all the time.
    My local airport at a city of 800,000 has half the number of flights it did ten years ago. Those remaining flights are almost all on smaller planes. Few to none are non-stop except to legacy airline hubs. And yes, new, new, new, Spirit Airlines will take you to Cancun two times a week. Whoopdee-doo.
    Forcing the airlines to make seats accommodate actual passengers will only “drive up fares” because the airlines have been allowed to manipulate the market rather than provide vital transportation services.
    Flyers who “like” to complain (I personally do NOT like any of the airline mess and do not like to complain) are not voting with their wallets. Oh yes, I am. BUT, there are ever-increasing populations to fill any empty seat I leave vacant.
    Your article below could have been written by any US airline. Whether it was or not, it certainly did flyers no favors on cost or otherwise.

    “Forcing the airlines with the least legroom, like low-cost carriers Spirit and Frontier, to yank out rows of seats to meet any new rule could cost them millions. And Gary Leff, a travel writer and author of the View From the Wing blog, says, “these ultra low cost carriers that do squeeze seats a little bit closer together are the ones that have really been driving down the price of air travel.”

    So mandating more legroom could drive up fares, Leff says.

    “If you reduce the amount of pitch between seats — [reducing] the number of seats they can have on a given plane — the cost per seat for those airlines is going to be higher.”

    Leff notes that while travelers like to complain about tighter seats and less legroom, they don’t seem to be flying less or paying more for extra space because of it.

    “In fact there have never been more people traveling than there are today,” Leff says. “Planes are as full as they have ever been. So people certainly aren’t voting with their wallets even as airlines squeeze seats tight closer together.”

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