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Is it time to regulate airplane seats? Chris Elliott thinks so!

In a column written for USA Today, travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott suggests that the only solution to the increasing air-rage incidents and fights over seat space is for the airlines to stop squeezing everyone closer and closer—and he's concluded that only Federal regulation will make them stop.


He points out that over the years space between seats (pitch) has shrunk from 34" to 31" or even less, and seat width has been shrinking, too. The airlines have basically said that passengers asked for it by demanding low fares, but Chris points out that no one really asked if they wanted to make that trade.


Read the article HERE

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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I'm not sure if "mandating" certain seat sizes would do anything but raise prices, but it might be nice if they introduced a simple grading system.  "A" for business/first class, "F" for the sardine can seating in the most cramped airlines.  If I was less than 5 ft tall and weighed less than 100 lbs the current seating system would work fine for me.  For most folks it's much too crowded, especially on long flights.   All the worse if you have to have your bag under the seat in front of you.


Let's see if getting a "F" grade makes the airline folks offer more choices on seat size.  

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

I'm not sure it's the case that mandating a decent space would raise the past, we've certainly seen that fares have a resistance
point, and airlines have backed down from increases at times. Also worth
noting that fares seem largely based on competition rather than actual
expense involved; that's why it's often cheaper to fly NY to LA than NY
to Kansas City! And, as Chris Elliott points out, having people fighting
over seat space has led to expensive consequences, too...

The trouble with a mandate is that it has deadlines and airlines who fly to the US would have to go through an expensive seat replacement program. That cost is one we share, or that puts the airlines in the red and in jeopardy.


Makes sense to pressure them to improve, but that's just my opinion.  But I do like the idea of "grading" seats.  Helps me know what I'm buying.  For example, Canadian airlines definitely have larger seats that American carriers.  I'll preferentially fly Air Canada to Europe if the price is right because of this.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

This debate seems to accept that the profit margins of Trans-Atlantic Flights are squeezed  by costs outside the carriers control. The only solution they have is squeeze more seats in to control income.

Last month I paid £759 ($1245) for 1 seat UK to Philadelphia - Return - with an American Airline. 7 hours in the sky. Each way.

My £759 will also get me a flight to the Caribbean from the UK. 10 hours in the sky. 14 nights in a hotel. Food and drink included. And flight back.

The Caribbean flight even goes over the eastern seaboard of America on the way there.

It's the best form of defence for the airlines to lay the blame of overcrowding at the feet of passengers who demand better prices.

All Airlines are profit driven - some more than others.





Last edited by GarryRF
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