The next crisis is occurring at 30,000 feet.
Joe Giron, The New York Times
Sardined passengers are now turning on each other.
Two fights on US aircraft made headlines worldwide last week that led to emergency landings and passengers being forcibly removed.
Kneed More Space
In one argument, a woman threw a glass of water over the man seated behind her who locked her seat upright with a clamp called “Knee Defender”.
The water belongs in the airlines’ faces.
Coach class mutiny is brewing, and sardine conditions are to blame. Yet the airlines manipulate passengers to redirect their anger, not at the airlines’ own misrepresentation of the function of a coach-class seat, but at their fellow passengers. It is the airlines falsifying the economic worth of a ticket and misrepresenting what it offers for your money.
The standard coach seat is today 17.2 inches wide with a 29-30 inch seat pitch, tight enough to make it impossible to work on a laptop, read, or eat behind a reclined seat.
Tighter and tighter coach cabin seating encourages enmity among passengers. And the holiday travel season is just around the corner.
Illustration by Sam Ward, USA TODAY
Do travelers have the “right” to recline their seats, or the “right” not have their space invaded?
It can be argued that neither passenger has these “rights”. This is an example of a “zero-sum” condition, where one person’s gain is another’s loss. The problem is that the airlines are selling the rights to the same space to two people.
Ten years ago, reclining your seat wasn’t considered ‘rude’ or ‘impolite’ because it didn’t impinge so much into the space of the person behind. Reclining seats were designed for a different era.
Trying to find a civil solution to an un-civil situation is impossible. There is no civil solution to the airlines’ treatment of coach class passengers. They will continue to lower the standard of travel as much as they can to squeeze the most money out of passengers. On the horizon is stand-up saddle seating.
The airlines control travel today.
There was a time when ships and trains dominated the industry, and we saw the sub-human steerage accommodations that were made available to the passengers of the Titanic and other ships of the time.
Exiting Concerns In Case Of Emergency
We sounded the alarm on substandard seat pitch due to airlines being allowed to insert extra rows to increase profits, resulting in passengers unable to brace themselves according to the aircraft safety card. Passengers also cannot exit a plane in 90 seconds during an emergency as required by the FAA, due to lack of egress in seat rows.
What is needed is the FAA stepping in and setting a minimum distance between airline seats – for passenger health, safety and comfort.
If the airlines aren’t going to make the experience of flying better, than we passengers should, as collectively if possible.
Tell the airlines to shake a leg on the space issue. It’s not a stretch asking for more leg room.