"...if someone wants to recline in the ridiculously
airlines give you, they do it at the expense of their own leg room, not by taking some of your space."
Good-bye to the rude recliner?
Just when it looks like their might be a little good news for the embattled airline traveler, more bad news pops up.
Anybody who travels in the cattle car seating euphemistically called “coach” or “economy” class knows that it’s an outrage that airline seats still recline. Reclining seats were for an era when passengers were seated with a humane amount of space.
When you get on the airplane you already know that the air may not be safe, the water may not be safe, and if you get anything substantial to eat you’ll probably have to pay extra for that. They’re charging extra for bags,
so every bozo with oversize luggage decides it’s a carry-on, blocking the aisles of the plane as they try to stuff things that don’t quite fit into an overhead bin.
And then, when you’re airborne, the jerk in front of you decides to recline his or her seat – taking the space you’ve paid for as their own!
I’m surprised no creative lawyer has filed a lawsuit over that – it’s misappropriation of something you paid for. Or that the federal government hasn’t come up with some guideline saying seats that don’t leave enough leg room for the average individual are illegal and reclining seats that cut into this minimum space are not allowed.
The good news is that one airline, Cathay Pacific, has developed a new coach seat that lets the traveler recline by having the seat bottom slide forward, leaving the back in place. That way, if you want to be more comfortable, you do it in your own space, not by making the person behind you more uncomfortable. Other airlines have reportedly shown some interest.
If they don’t adopt this model, I hope they will finally at least lock all of their seatbacks in upright position permanently – not just for takeoff and landing – so that the boor in front of me can no longer take so much of my space that I can’t even use my netbook or read a magazine in comfort. I flew back from
The bad news is that some airlines are actually considering a seating arrangement with the first seat facing forward, the second facing backward and the third facing forward. It would mean an airline could fit an extra seat into each row on a 777, according to an article on Conde Nast’s Concierge.com website. You can see a picture of the configuration by clicking here. Why don’t these airlines just drug everybody, stuff them in little pods and stack them on top of each other? They could probably double their capacity and they wouldn’t have to serve any food or drinks.
We hope the drawbacks of this seating idea will keep it grounded, but we also hope that Cathay Pacific’s idea will take off with a lot of other airlines. It would be one small move back in favor of the airline passenger. The thing I really like about it is that if someone wants to recline in the ridiculously small space airlines give you, they do it at the expense of their own leg room, not by taking some of your space. Either that or locking the seat backs makes a lot more sense than the current situation on most airlines.
--John DeBaun, 10/15/09
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