|For a while it appeared the only winners in the FAA Reauthorization debate were going to be the airlines.
Last month Rep. Steve Cohen’s (D-TN) ‘Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act’ was shot down by the House Transportation Committee chaired by a congressman who just happens to be close buddies with airline lobbyists.
Now joining the battle with FlyersRights is Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is adding an amendment to the FAA bill that would require seat-size guidelines.
|Saddle up, partner! Ready for “horse saddle” seats?
Patented by Airbus, it shrinks seat pitch to 23 inches.
Flying the Cruel Skies
Flying coach on a long haul flight may be one of life’s cruelest experiences.
Each year brings fresh horrors as more and more are sardined in ever receding seats, then being charged for legroom.
Meanwhile, airlines are enjoying record profits by mastering ways to nickel and dime every scrap of revenue from passengers while oil prices remain low.
Even frequent flyers are being robbed of benefits they were promised years ago.
This is simple corporate greed, that endangers the public. This is not a free market issue, it is a health issue.
And all signs point to further debasing the airline experience at the next economic downturn.
|Pretty soon airlines may need to hire the Japanese people pushers that cram people onto trains.
Just last month, United Airlines reportedly was considering a higher density configuration
that would squeeze about 100 more seats onto Boeing 777s by adding one extra seat per row in economy. It would also reduce its business class.
While last summer, the aircraft manufacturer disclosed they planned to shrink lavatories
in order to get another 14 seats onto their jetliners.
Think of the 747 which started at 9-across, and after a few years was reconfigured to 10-across. What’s to stop the continued erosion of size until we wind up with 10 across seating on a 737?
Surprisingly, you can squeeze as many as 853 seats on the Airbus 380. Would you be OK with that? Would you have any safety concerns? How do you evacuate aircraft where spacing is super tight?
Seat pitch is a safety issue. If there are no regulations in place and seat pitch continues to shrink, there may be a day when the airlines will be flying close to 1000 passengers in coach.
Isn’t just a matter of comfort, but of safety and health too
The average legroom on airlines has shrunk four inches since the 1970s, from an ample 35 inches, down to just 31 inches – and widths of 18 inches down to 16.5 inches today.
The airlines say it’s a job for market forces. But the “vote with your wallet” statements aren’t realistic when there is no choice.
The airlines make that free market argument everytime you go to book premium economy. But look at the price difference – it’s not proportional. And the longer the flight, the more disproportional it gets. Most fares seem to be about double for Economy Plus.
Emergency evacuation tests haven’t been tested on tighter seats on airlines today
This has led some experts to raise concerns over the safety of passengers.
Doctors also warn that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who can’t move their legs during longer flights.
How you can participate
A vote on the bill is expected in March.