Two Comments About Seats

January 10, 2010

in Flying Hell Commentary

#1) We fly coach from South America to the United States with American Airlines at least once a year. In the last years, we have been noticing that seats have been changed. Seats are more close together and they can recline less. This is no problem for a 2 or 3 hour flight; but for a 10 to 12 hour flight this is impossible. When we arrived to our destination last March, we needed a couple of days to recover after a long night without being able to sleep at all in those terrible conditions. A flight attendant told us that every year the airline is adding more and more seats, consequently less and less comfort is provided to the passenger. Still the passenger (customer) is charged more money every year. Flying in such conditions is horrible; just to be nice… The company is not taking care of its customers.

#2) Just a general comment, but the common element that appears to link most of the stories I’ve read on this site is a certain lack of space between passengers. As a passenger, I’ll put up with almost ANYTHING if I can just have at reasonable amount of space to exist in for the duration of the flight. I’m not a large person, but the last few flights I’ve been on lasting 3 or more hours have been so uncomfortable because there is simply no room to maneuver oneself with at least a shred of dignity. Give us 6 more inches, that’s all I ask!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Demotage January 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I'm going to take the airline's side on this one. This is your fault. Well, not you personally perhaps, at least not all by yourself. This is all of our fault. Since deregulation of the airline industry, keeping an airline in business has been a rough job. Big, old established airlines have gone out of business. Remember Pan Am? Eastern? New airlines have come, and then they've gone. Others have been taken over. TWA, Northwest, PSA, etc. Those that have survived have done so mostly by doing three things: they have merged in an attempt to gain assets and eliminate competition, they have cut costs, and they've done whatever they can to increase revenue. They had to cut costs because one thing you say is just dead wrong. It is not more expensive to fly than it used to be. It is less expensive. In inflation-adjusted dollars, it has never been cheaper to fly as a passenger. At the same time it has also never been more expensive to fly as an airline. Fuel, airplanes, health care, maintenance costs have all increased. So what are the airlines supposed to do? They cut where they can. They have decreased salaries, they have cut staff, they have optimized schedules, cut the number of flights, stopped serving food. They have even gone so far as to cut the amount of fuel an airplane carries in order to cut weight (which saves fuel).

None of this is enough to keep them in business. So what do they do? They have to increase revenue. How do you do that in a competitive environment where you cant raise fares? Two ways: they charge fees for things that used to be free (in essence raising the fare, without raising the fare), and they cram more passengers on each plane.

The fact is, sitting in a small space on a 10 hour flight is not "impossible". It is difficult. I hate it as much as anyone. But what would you rather have them do? Cut maintenance?

Why is this our fault? Because we all love a bargain. If we were willing to pay what it cost the airlines for more space, then they'd have more space.


ps January 12, 2010 at 4:29 am

You're right. But it's the American way. We want penthouse service at basement prices. And if the posters researches on line they will find seat size differnetials. Bottom line is in the airline industry you get what you pay for.


pinch January 13, 2010 at 12:52 am

Demotage- u said it perfect! flying, for the passenger has never been cheaper! yet for the airline the costs of operating a single flight is extraordinary and continuously increasing.

If you dont like the space in "coach" or economy then pay that extra and fly business or first class where possible. Airlines are providing u with a service, if u dont like it then fine, dont fly with them. You'll soon realise that given our economic environment ALL airlines will have to introduce new cost cutting measures or revenue adding measures to deal with this such as the economic crisis. Bottom line- their getting u to where u want to go for a much cheaper price.


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