For those of us who fly tourist class, the days of comfort are but a vapour trail. Airline travel is going through a revolution that dictates less passenger comfort and promises more discomfort to come.
|Sardines in a Tin|
News channels have been bursting with horror stories about cancellations and delays brought by this winter’s freakish weather. Those are just sporadic, temporary horrors, however. What’s going on inside commercial airplanes is producing agonies that are becoming the norm.
The space between airline seats is shrinking and will shrink more. The New York Times reported recently that the space between seats has fallen roughly 10 per cent in the last 20 years from 34 inches (which was not huge), to an average 30 to 32 inches. Budget operation Spirit Airlines has reduced it’s between-seats space to 28 inches.
Besides reducing seating space some airlines also are putting in thinner seats with less padding, eliminating reclining seats and moving magazine pouches to above the tray tables.
Airline seat space is getting smaller as many of us get bigger and bigger, an average 20 pounds bigger in the past few decades.
There is a bright side to all this – lower ticket prices. Travellers have demanded lower fares and cutting seating space is one way airlines can provide that. Tighter seat space equals more seats per plane, equals more revenue on the bottom line.
Being an airline passenger these days requires the stamina of Roman gladiators and the patience of angels.
Here's a link to a chart on airline seating: http://www.airlinequality.com/Product/seats_global.htm