A Look At Ryanair’s Crazy 200 Seat Boeing 737

We’ve seen some pretty interesting ideas here at Simple Flying. Some are pretty neat, others are pretty nice, but this one perhaps evokes a different emotion.

Ryanair is looking to outfit their Boeing 737-8 MAX with 200 seats. For comparison, Southwest’s 737 MAXs have 175 seats. Granted, Ryanair has ordered the 737-8-200, a specially designed high-capacity MAX aircraft for low-cost carriers.

In recent 737 MAX news, passengers and crew alike decried American’s intention to put 29 inches of pitch on their 737 MAXs. While American changed their mind, their 737 MAX is still not a well-liked plane.

American Airlines 737 MAX
American Airlines 737 MAX

Ryanair’s latest proposal, however, takes the cake for the smallest economy seats. To fit 200 seats on their 737 MAX, the seats will be arranged with 28 inches of pitch.

Featured Video:

Ryanair 737MAX interior with 200 seats

Currently, Ryanair’s smallest pitch is 30 inches on their 737-800 aircraft. Those planes have a maximum capacity of 189 seats.

Given these parameters, Ryanair will most likely outfit these aircraft with 3 lavatories. That is almost 67 passengers per lavatory! Those lavatories will undoubtedly be small like American’s.

Ryanair mostly flies short hops across Europe. This makes 28 inches a bit more bearable if it is on a 1-hour flight versus a 6 or 7-hour flight. Ryanair is also known for their cheap fares. Given fares as low as Ryanair’s, this seating arrangement makes sense from an efficiency and financial standpoint.

Ultimately, the biggest concern is whether other airlines with follow suit. With British Airways acting more and more like a low-cost carrier, most people probably would not be happy with a 28-inch pitch for a transatlantic flight.

What are your thoughts on Ryanair’s new plane? Would you like to fly on it? Let us know in the comments below!


  2. (30-28)/30 = 6% more seats……for 6% more fare on a short inexpensive flight I would rather pay for the 30 inches. Might be $6, forgo the coffee. Duh

  3. It is well past time to require that all plane ticket prices also quote the minimum seat pitch for all seat of that class on that particular flight. A primary reason that seats are getting smaller is that people lack the information to choose at the time of purchase.

    1. If you lack that information it’s your own fault. Seatguru.com is maintained for free by travel enthusiasts who measure seat width and pitch both with 3D camera imaging and laser scans. You’ll know who they are because they choose priority boarding in all classes and are carrying ridiculous gear (by Joe Average’s standards).

      Any plane, any flight, anywhere in the world, they have the specs published for every class unless it’s one of the first few flights of a new config, and aviation geeks openly publish when those are coming because they know the maintenance and refurb cycles. There are tons of forums online driving this information. Consumers just need to care one iota to look online to find what they’re getting.

      I myself wish so much Air Canada could fly me directly from Brisbane to Seattle, Portland, or Phoenix instead of Vancouver, because I’d sooner die than deal with LAX again (that 2 hour+ layover is a joke. You’ll use every minute of it transferring to your next flight). However, where I need to go on the east coast of the U.S. is so remote that the return trip is 30 hours of flying no matter which airline I fly because of the 2 hop requirement from Norfolk. But even if Qantas launches their direct Brisbane to Chicago flight, I’d only bear it in Premium Economy. The economy seats are 0.1″ slimmer than Air Canada’s, but BNE-ORD and ORD/BNE would be a fully booked flight either way, so you don’t even get the benefit of an empty row to treat as a bed the way you do on Air Canada. Say what you want of Air Canada’s slightly older flight attendants and that more of them are male. A 15 hour flight in packed economy is killer if the plane is full and you’re not a slim build or have a bad back.

      Singapore Airlines understood this most when they put in 18″ seats on the Boeing 787. The aisle is narrow, but even a husky American like me can sidestep through it without disturbing sleeping passengers who are sagging into the aisles. Meanwhile the dimwits at Qantas and Jetstar make the seats 17.2″ wide and make the aisle so wide it’s ridiculous. Air Canada strikes a good balance, and traveling TO Norfolk, it’s the best option on the table by far. Skip the next paragraph to avoid a side rant about other options unless you did some research on options throw Dallas and LAX.

      Delta offers a BNE-LAX-CLT-ORF route, but it relies on a ~42 minute layover at Charlotte, which is ridiculous. That’s 8-10 minutes from the time deplaning of your flight starts to the time the door shuts on your connection to Norfolk, and the flights land at opposite ends of a terminal. Delta’s good about customer service, but I’ve missed that connection twice already because I couldn’t be let off first, unlike American Airlines who let me off my flight from PHL to LAX first to make my connection to Brisbane in August 2016.

      As ridiculously expensive as it would be, if you want real comfort to travel long-haul, you fight tooth and nail to be on Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, or Air Canada. If you’re not trying to get to Australia, where the extra 2-3 hours going south and west will really hurt, then you can’t compromise on width. Length you CAN get away with. Air Canada proves this with its sculpted seating which lets my 6’3″ brother with massive forelegs manage to sleep on the YVR-BNE flight on the 787-8. 31″ pitch vs. 32-33 doesn’t really mean much. But if you’re bumping elbows with your neighbours, you’ll never fall asleep.

      You HAVE to know what you’re getting. You need to do your own research.

      1. I use SeatGuru often, however, why should a separate travel site have to operate vs let each carrier identify the product offering for the price they expect for it.

        I agree the that this should be the responsibility of each air carrier not a third party.

  4. Smart move by people with a proven record of success. They know very well that most people will sacrifice comfort, service, reliability, and even safety if the price is right. They’re not interested in the small numbers of overly large or comfortably wealthy people. Their abysmal treatment of employees, however, could be their downfall.

  5. I barely fit on Ryanair with the old seats. Can’t see flying them again with this change.
    Hopefully Easyjet and other European LCCs won’t follow suit. If they do, guess I’ll be taking the train when I visit Europe.

  6. When I shop for tickets I exclude Ryan air from my searches. I despise their irritating convoluted booking system designed to generate more fees for baggage and seat selection. Worse is the intentionally difficult boarding pass procedure.

  7. Ryanair is only interested in profit, hence cram as many asossible into a small uncomfortable 737 cabin. Service is non existant. Compare to EasyJet with 30” amd comfortable seats, A320 aircraft (ie wider) and friendly staff. Worth paying the extra. My last trip to Crete was with EJ and the one before RA. Both suffered delays. EJ looked after the passengers and provided entertainment for the children, and the flight could not be continued that day, provided free hotel and meals for the passengers. RA did nothing. No decision for the future. EJ wins hands down.

  8. Hate flying Ryanair. The most uncomfortable seats ever. Dreadful toilets. Unfortunately, with a poor selection of airlines to choose from my departure city, I am sometimes forced to use them. I wouldn’t use them for long haul if they paid me to do so

  9. As I grow older and chubbier and aircraft seat width and pitch get smaller I doubt I will ever fly on one of these crammed planes. Profit is now the main name of the flight game and it means being squeazed into ever shrinking seats. As long as all of this is OK to the younger and slimmer crowd we’ll probably end up with some standing options or double decker seats. Good luck with that !

  10. Flying Ryanair is a nightmare already, and the seats are the least problem at the moment. Took an easyJet flight yesterday, looks like they are already one step ahead in this game. It was probably the most uncomfortable flight in my entire life. I will certainly take other carriers from now on, who value their customers and not milking them in such obvious ways.

  11. Seems ok if you are 5ft 8in or less (like me!) and only on board for an hour or two—–anything above those 2 stats, and life becomes a little less bearable! Still—-we all have a choice, and if out-and-out comfort is your desire, there’s always BA et al!

  12. Your ‘moderation’ of my submitted comment concerning the safety of this aircraft noted, as is your site and url, All of which will be documented on a less-censorious site than yours.

  13. will be useing ryanscare in a few weeks,after previous experiance dreading it
    they make you feel like a dairy cow ie you are being milked at every opertunity
    pity a familey with children if they fail to get the boarding pass right a family of four
    would have to cough up around £200 for the pricelidge of four a4 pages of printing
    total robbery

  14. I will not fly on this plane. I flew once on a 28-inch Iberia slight from London to Spain, never again. I saw tall people unable to place their legs appropriately, which became an issue for other passengers. It is becoming a safety issue. When you tighten a screw too much, it will become loose.

    If you want to keep your airline low cost, you have to come with new ideas. Going from 32 to 30 to 28 to 26 to 24 inch and to zero toilets is not going to be the way forward for a successful low cost airline. It will be as successful as the hastened and unsafe development of the 737 MAX.

  15. Wow. It will be a shock for RyanAir passengers when they get to their seats if the 737 Max is ever authorized to fly again.
    They ll be squizzed like sardines and better use the airport lavatories prior to embarking if they don’t want to stand in a line in front of the aircraft ‘s bathroom during the whole flight.
    In Europe i do prefer to fly with Low Budget EasyJet Airbus aircrafts,no question about that.

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