Airline removes seats to cut costs

Portable chairs now available in airports

ATLANTA, Ga. -- First it was in-flight meals. Then is was magazines, pillows and peanuts. And most recently, even flight attendants have been eliminated from economy class air travel. These moves have come about as airlines try to compete in a market where expenses are soaring while revenues are sinking.

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Now JetRed Air Lines has taken the next logical step in "downsizing" the coach cabins on its domestic routes. Beginning next month, travelers will not only be expected to bring their own pillows, blankets, food and water, they will be required to bring their own seats as well. In the latest round of cost-cutting, JetRed management has decided to do away with on-board furniture, leaving it up to passengers to provide their own chairs.

Of course, where there are changes, there are also opportunities. That's what Ralph Linginhoff, president of Chairs-In-The-Air, discovered. His company is the first to open stores in 16 major airports offering portable, FAA-approved chairs (shown here) to passengers. These chairs may either be purchased or, for passengers who prefer the convenience of not having to lug a chair around while they are traveling, rented.

It is anticipated that other companies will enter the portable passenger chair market in the next few months as competing airlines are expected to begin removing seats from the main cabins of their aircraft as well. Trying to stay ahead of the competition, Linginhoff's company will introduce "The Commander," an upscale model with leather webbing and a built-in battery charger for portable electronic devices.

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