Due to our win in the U.S. Court of Appeals two weeks ago, the onus is now on the FAA to prove to lawmakers, consumer groups and passengers that they have nothing to worry about in re tight airline seats.

Let’s not grant them that chance.

FlyersRights has argued that shrinking airline seats are not only a safety hazard, but a health issue, putting passengers at risk for

deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Blood Clots in Your Legs – Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)

If you’re a sports fan, you’re likely aware of the death of a 52-year-old former star of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, Jerome Kersey, followed shortly after by the discovery of the same condition in former star of the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh. You may also recall tennis star Serena Williams’ career was once placed on hold for a year. And Olympic speed skater Rebekah Bradford also suffered from blood clots, a situation that almost put an end to not just her skating career, but also her life.

Athletes’ lifestyles can lead to deadly blood clotting due to the  need to travel long distances. Competitions are held across the globe, requiring top athletes to take long flights to participate. 

Spreading Awareness of Blood Clots

If pro athletes, dancers,  actorscelebritiespilots and well-known politicians get DVT, what about the non-jetset? 

A Dutch research team found that ” An individual’s lifetime risk of developing VTE is about 11%; 10%-30% of people die  within 28 days  of diagnosis of VTE.  (DVT and pulmonary embolism are known collectively as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

People who fly four hours or more, the  World Health Organization found, have three times the risk of developing clots compared with periods when they did not travel.
What’s DVT?

The blood clot is, in medical-speak, a deep vein thrombosis. If it stays in the leg it can cause stiffness and pain, but if it moves up the body it can cause real trouble.

A blood clot can pass through the big vessels of the heart without much difficulty, but when it gets to the smaller vessels supplying the lungs it can cause a massive blockage, cutting off oxygen supply to the body. A clot in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism, and it may result in death.

About   300,000 people per year die of blood clots, which some medical authorities consider to be as dangerous as high cholesterol as a cause of strokes and heart attacks.

Though most blood clots are usually not fatal, the fact is, you can die if they are left untreated. Symptoms typically include unexplained pain, tenderness, redness and swelling, often in the leg. Once a clot has traveled to the lung, common symptoms include chest pain and breathing difficulties.

The primary preventive recommendation has been for airline passengers to exercise every half hour. Of course this is impossible given the cramped space and narrow, crowded aisles in nearly all classes.

Some doctors now  recommend taking pycnogenol, a pine bark extract, before and after long flights. (Of course, check with your physician before taking any medication that has not been formally prescribed.) Aspirin and anticoagulant medicine is not effective in preventing DVT, as it can cause uncontrolled bleeding.

Researchers also  warn against wearing commercial compression stockings. They are only effective if custom fit; if not, they may cause harm by blocking blood flow. Excessive alcohol consumption or taking sleeping pills that promote immobility are also discouraged.

What airlines know

The airline industry has  known about the dangers of DVT for nearly 45 years. The first scientific study on DVT was conducted back in 1968.

Later, in 1985, a group of doctors wrote a letter to The Lancet, a medical journal, reporting that  they had treated large numbers of airline passengers suffering blood clots.

“We see a steady stream of illnesses which have developed in flight,” they noted. “The major manifestation of the illness may not occur until after disembarkation. We have seen several patients with thromboembolism presenting in this way, with a near fatal outcome in one case.”

The most obvious and long-term solution involves the reorganization of airline seating arrangements, providing a bit of space and facilities for in-flight movement and exercise, as  you can do anytime in your automobile, by pulling off the road to stretch and walk.

The FAA needs to hear from passengers: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint

Let’s keep up the drumbeat. The FAA is losing the seat-size battle to FlyersRights.

Your Letters:

Dear FlyersRights:
I don’t know whether you have seen the attached article or not.  Basically, the article says the only real way for airlines to learn how cost differentials add up is to build a bottom-up view of the unit costs, volumes, and productivity of their cost buckets.
I was wondering if this was something that the Flyers Rights could address and how this type of thinking  (an approach that looks in-depth at cost drivers) would affect the airline consumer.
Thank you for your indulgence and allowing me to share this with you.
Please keep up the good work!

Cost cutting by efficiency is something all good corporations do. Cost cutting by reducing labor costs with wage cuts, defaulting on debts and pensions, zeroing out stock holders investments, reducing flights to smaller and medium size cities, out sourcing services for customer service, ticketing, maintenance, reducing amenities, antitrust waivers, exemptions from all state and local consumer protection laws, waivers of safety regulations, lax enforcement, waiver of fines, avoiding taxes by shifting revenue to non taxable fees and ancillary revenue sources like selling frequent  flyer miles to credit card companies and then devaluing them, lowering pilot and ATC qualifications, reducing seat size and legroom, overbooking, selling passenger seats to standby passengers at premium and bumping passengers with reservations, long tarmac confinements to prevent passenger migration to reduce refunds and prevent alternate transportation, mergers and control of gates at major airports, outlawing foreign airline flights to and within the US to reducing, prohibiting foreign investment in US carriers over 30%, joint ventures with antitrust exemptions to control international fights eliminating or drastically reducing competition, are some of the ways airlines reduce costs and increase profits and benefits for top management and insiders. BTW the article shows no real reduction in airfares in recent times since airline consolidation. 

And profit margins for US have soared 5-10x to about 19%, the highest in history, while customer service and satisfaction is lower than any other industry except cable tv and cell phone companies.
Paul Hudson
President, FlyersRights.org

Dear FlyersRights:

Are you in favor of the cellphone ban? I know that I am not and neither is Chris (Elliott), neither are most people. The only reason this got in the bill is because flight attendants lobbied for it.  Those of us who actually fly know from what happens when planes land and phones can be used that there is no issue with loud talking.
Our position has been, if allowed, it should be set up so as not to disturb other passengers.
Could be via phone booths or earphones with soundproof masks, like court reporters use to
Talk into. 
Paul Hudson
President, FlyersRights.org

The FlyersRights® Insider Vol. 9

This week’s travel-related information tips and suggestions for our readers and members.

What your passport color says about you:

How much water should you drink on an airplane:


US DOT says airlines will need to refund you for delayed bags:

The above articles can be viewed by clicking on the link. For more in-depth and up-to-date information on these items, please refer to the source.

Sign up for this newsletter!

FlyersRights’ Acclaim: