Airlines Around the World
Hello . . . airline
There is room for improvement.
Consumer Reports finds most U.S. airlines lacking seat comfort (web posted July 9, 1997)
-- Expect to get a little closer to your fellow travelers this summer. The number of passengers packed onto flights is up sharply since 1995, according to the Consumer Reports Travel Letter's 1997 airline seat comfort rating.
Emma Christoffersen, a "fit and healthy" 28-year-old according to her fiancÚ, died from deep vein thrombosis after disembarking in London from a long-haul flight from Australia.
This blood clotting condition, while certainly not confined to airline passengers, is increasingly becoming known as "economy class syndrome".
The Aviation Health Institute (AHI) estimates 30,000 passengers in the UK experience these blood clots each year. Several die from it.
The combination of tight legroom and dehydration, familiar to those seated in "cattle class", is being blamed.
Squeezed In: Veteran economy travellers who suspect they are being squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces by the airlines may have a point.
The AHI says some major carriers have shaved valuable inches from economy seating since the 1980s.
The "pitch" - the distance between your seat-back and the one in front - can easily be changed by an aeroplane's operator.
The UK law sets a minimum pitch of 26 inches, the distance deemed necessary to allow passengers to get out of their seats in an emergency.
The Consumers' Association thinks 31 inches is the minimum pitch required to afford passengers any real comfort.
On long-haul flights airlines rarely exceed this pitch by more than a few inches.
On budget and charter aircraft, the legroom provision can be even grimmer. Some barely surpass the legal minimum.
Civil Aviation authorities MUST re-examining its rules on cabin spacing, in fear of the fact that people are fast outgrowing the seats provided for them.
Those travellers, particularly the tall, banking on aisle or emergency exit seats may be losing out. The airlines have become adept at filling their aircraft to capacity. Today, at peak times, there can be almost no spare seats. On average they are around 75% full."
Airlines have changed their ticketing to "extract as much revenue as possible" from each flight. Resulting in "cattle" travel.
This page is dated December 1999.