Airlines Seek Cost-Per-Passenger Solutions

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Every time the price of a barrel of oil goes up by a dollar, that translates into a $365 million hike in fuel costs for the 11 major airlines, CNN reported Monday. Added to years of bankruptcies and labor strife, the airlines are struggling to cope. One strategy is to find ways to fit more passengers into the same space. Some carriers are installing seats of stronger, lighter materials with slimmer seatbacks, crowding extra rows into already packed airliners. Others are looking at new designs with flip-up seats like in movie theaters, or "sit-stand" seats, like bar stools but with seatbacks and belts. Even discount carriers like JetBlue and Southwest are feeling the pinch and raising fares, though not as quickly as the legacy airlines. Fuel prices have risen 38 percent over the last year. A significant drop in prices is not expected.