London design firm Seymourpowell may be about to alter the balance of power in the global airline industry, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.
How so? The firm has created what it calls Morph, a bench of three potential seats that are customizable ahead of flight time. In its blog post announcing the design, Seymourpowell described Morph as a "concept economy seat" that would allow passengers to pay for the type of space and fit they'd prefer when flying.
Tim says it's a game-changing idea for cheap U.S. airlines whose primary edge is in keeping costs low. The introducion of a premium seat that flyers could pay up for, regardless of cabin, could create a more profitable mix per flight.
Both Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) could use the boost. Alaska's passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) fell 1.2% year over year, to $0.13, in the third quarter. Southwest did better, earning 5.1% more on higher fares in Q3, yet that may not last. Southwest doesn't operate a first-class cabin, and is therefore limited in how much it can charge its most frequent passengers. Adjustable seats could alter the equation, Tim says.
Do you agree? Would you pay up for more space via an adjustable seat were that an option? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know what you think.