The Travel Factory Blog

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Do Fliers Have Rights?!!

Do Fliers Have Rights?!!

Someone the other day thought he had a right to a little space in his seat on a Southwest Airlines flight when a lady laid her seat back as far as it would go and was virtually in the man’s lap. When she wouldn’t raise her seat back to a more comfortable position for him, he just choked her!!! The pilot declared an emergency and took the plane back to the airport where security folks were waiting to take the man off the plane. My question was, did they take the woman off the plane??

Where’s being nice, being civil and considerate when we travel?

So the question arises, how much seating space do I have a “right” to? The standard seat size is 17.2 inches wide with a 31-32 inch seat pitch, some planes as short at 28 inch pitch. According to one writer, it is unfortunate that the seat pitch varies not merely by airline, but from plane to plane within each airline’s fleet. That seat pitch has fallen from 35 inches to the current 31 inches and the width from 18 inches before airline deregulation in the 70’s.

And what about the traveler “of size” who has to pull up the seat arm to sit down and still extends over into the other seat, my seat and arm rest? Southwest Airlines takes care of this situation requiring “customers of size” to purchase another seat.

And have you noticed? The seats as well as the seatbacks are getting harder!!! They have taken some of the padding out of the seatbacks to give more room. Of course all this reduction in size and pitch is to give the airlines more seating capacity, and increased capacity means more income…..which, of course, is the bottom line for the airline. They are now enjoying record profits, not the least of which is because of the restructure of the seating.

There have been some consumer groups that are trying to get the government to force the airlines to change their policy on seating, and are calling not only a comfort problem but also a safety and health issue. Airlines on the other hand say that the government should not regulate, but allow market forces to set seat size. I say, which “market forces”? Just not fly, in this day and time?

My opinion is that there has to be a little give each way, however up to this point it has been a one-way “give it to the consumer” to the benefit to the airlines. If there is enough consumer outcry to the point that the government gets involved, then I’m sure the airlines will do something about it. This incident on Southwest Airlines should certainly get somebody’s attention.

Everyone still needs air transportation, and the experienced travel counselors at The Travel Factory are prepared to help you with your travel needs so contact us today at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040. We exist to serve the travel needs of the good folks in the Big Country.

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Wednesday November 20, 2019