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Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the how-long-until-they-give-you-a-stool dept.

Transportation 466

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "AP reports that U.S. airlines are taking out old, bulky seats in favor of so-called slimline models that take up less space from front to back, allowing for five or six more seats on each plane. This gives airlines two of their favorite things: more paying passengers, and a smaller fuel bill (the seats are slightly lighter). Whether the new seats are really closer together depends on how you measure. By the usual measure, called 'pitch,' the new ones are generally an inch closer together from front to back as measured at the armrest. The seats Southwest has put on nearly its entire fleet are 31 inches apart, about an inch less than before, allowing them to to add an extra row of six seats to each plane. International passengers are feeling crowded, too. As recently as 2010, most airlines buying Boeing's big 777 opted for nine seats across. Now it's 10 across on 70 percent of newly-built 777s, Boeing says. American's newest 777s are set up 10-across in coach, with slightly narrower seats than on its older 777s. Airlines say you won't notice. And the new seats are designed to minimize this problem. Airplane seats from 30 years ago looked like your grandmother's BarcaLounger, says Jami Counter, senior director at SeatGuru.com, which tracks airline seats and amenities. 'All that foam cushion and padding probably didn't add all that much comfort. All that's been taken out,' he said. 'You haven't really lost all that much if the airline does it right.'"

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It not logical Captain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163209)

The saving made by the more fat Americans they squeeze in per square inch will be eaten up in increased fuel costs

Re:It not logical Captain (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163439)

But don't you see? By making them smaller, fat Americans won't be able to fit to fly at all.

Re:It not logical Captain (5, Insightful)

cjjjer (530715) | about 10 months ago | (#45163757)

No, more of them will need to buy two seats.

Bullshit we won't notice (5, Interesting)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 10 months ago | (#45163217)

I recently flew on a rather old African owned plane (run by a state airline). It being my first experience with this style of airline (the only other African airline I'd flown was SAA, which is no better or worse than the average European airline), it was interesting. E.g. there was heaps of leg room! It was amazing compared to the other airlines I'd been flying. Economy class was actually comfortable for me, even without pushing the seatback back (which I never like doing if there is someone behind me, I think airlines should remove that option).

On the newer planes though, I always have to get an aisle seat, otherwise I am uncomfortable the entire flight.

Fuck the airlines.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (2)

Bongo (13261) | about 10 months ago | (#45163253)

Most memorable ride for me was on some kind of prop flying low in Zambia, to Lusaka. Lovely view of giraffes. Horrible, terrible turbulence. But great view. Don't recall any problem with seat space.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (5, Insightful)

Durrik (80651) | about 10 months ago | (#45163315)

You might have the same problem I have. But I don't think I'll notice the change personally. I'm 6'4" tall (190cm) and I'm in pain if I don't get up from those seats at least every two hours and walk to the bathroom. I have a hard time getting into them now as it is, and usually I fly on short notice and I'm stuck in the middle. I'm quite sure that the airlines are having some sort of joke on the big guys, and see how many they can sit next to each other.

The last time I flew internationally (10 hour flight from Seattle to Amsterdam) I got lucky and upgraded to 'comfort' class and the booking agent apologized that I was tuck in the bulkhead row. Stuck? Man that was comfortable I could stretch out. But she was able to do better on the way back, and got me a proper seat. That was painful, and cramped. I had to get the guy on the aisle to let me out 5 times, and each time I was moving like an old man (and I'm not that old).

So I don't think I'll notice the loose of 1 little inch. My knees already run into the back of the seat in front of me. My shoulders already overflow onto the seats besides me. I might notice that my butt will be snug in the seats though.

But if they're jamming more people onto the plane, are they increasing the overhead bin capacity? When I fly I always take a small roller bag for my clothes and a laptop bag. I usually get these stowed (roller bag up top and laptop bag under the seat in front of course) but its usually cramped, and people who come in late always seem to try to jam in on top of everything. Somehow I doubt it as that is passenger convenience, and some airlines (I'm looking at you American) are charging for every checked bag you have. They're currently offering the checked carry on for free, but that might change in the future.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (5, Interesting)

rickett81 (987309) | about 10 months ago | (#45164107)

I'm 200cm tall.
On a flight from the US to Brazil, I was stuck in the back of the plane and my legs physically wouldn't fit in the seat. The flight attendant told me that I would have to get my legs in there or the flight couldn't take off. I had her call another flight attendant over and then I said "I will get in here, but something is going to break. It will be the seat in front, my seat, or my legs."
I then jammed myself into the seat which broke the rivets/screws of the seat in front of me which slammed the seat forward (with someone in it) making the seat unusable. I foresee this happening again and more often if the airlines continue this stuff.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45163427)

without pushing the seatback back (which I never like doing if there is someone behind me, I think airlines should remove that option)

Why? If the person in front of me in a flight pushes their seat back, then it moves the bottom forward very slightly, so I get about half a centimetre of knee room, and it moves the (small) screen of the in-flight entertainment system closer to my eyes. The seats are designed not to be made more uncomfortable when the person in front of you leans back...

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (5, Insightful)

blackm0k (2589601) | about 10 months ago | (#45163653)

I do not share this experience. Typically, when the seat in front of me is pushed back, it collides with my knee-caps, sometimes in a fairly painful manner. After that the flight becomes a few hours of my legs being restricted to one fairly uncomfortable position.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45163891)

I do not share this experience. Typically, when the seat in front of me is pushed back, it collides with my knee-caps, sometimes in a fairly painful manner.

http://www.gadgetduck.com/goods/kneedefender.html [gadgetduck.com]

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163979)

Yeah, when someone in front of me pushes their seat pack, it collides painfully with my knees ... and they usually do it several times just in case my knees have been removed. At least as annoying, it becomes difficult to read even a standard sized paperback book, much less a magazine.

I did have good luck on one flight where the only way to read a paperback was to place it on the seatback that was reclined in my face ... when the guy looked up to see that we were practically kissing, he did get the hint.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 10 months ago | (#45163715)

> If the person in front of me in a flight pushes their seat back ...

You get an extra inch, and you also win one (1) free head right in front of your face. If you're lucky, this person doesn't wear overpowering cologne or use some kind of hair gel that makes your eyes water. Or have a high-voltage hairdo that tickles your nose.

What I love, when a plane gets full, is that the rear of the plane tends to "drag down" a bit. SO, when you go to the lavatory, you get to run downhill on the way, then climb uphill on the way back.

Ah, modern technology. :)

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#45163869)

I'm 6'7". I do my best not to fly (don't really want to be sexually abused) but when I have to, I am fucking miserable. Most airlines seem to now only give you preferred seating if you're part of some kind of high-mileage club, so I usually don't get to pick the bulkhead. I'll regularly see short people seated there but they never seem to want to swap me; the people with the seat they don't need and the airline employees are both assholes. It doesn't just impact me; my knees are firmly against the seat before me, which cannot be reclined. If the person tries I will shove the seat forward, and hard; if you don't look before you recline, you're an asshole. And if they look back at me for more than the half-second it should take to figure out that I don't fit in the seat, then I look them right in the eye and explain that they don't get to recline their seat, and please stop looking back here.

Americans are getting bigger; not just fatter but taller. But they're reducing the available room on the planes. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is bullshit.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45164109)

For me the issue is side to side room. Not because I'm fat, but because my shoulders are wider than an economy class seat. That, and that seems to be true of nearly every single man. The result is that if you're in a row of men of a similar height and build, then you literally can not fit in the seats all sat up, because that would require breaking bones.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45163971)

...you also win one (1) free head right in front of your face. Ah, modern technology. :)

Pro tip: Aim your air vent right at their head when they do that. It annoys the hell out of them.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 10 months ago | (#45163819)

without pushing the seatback back (which I never like doing if there is someone behind me, I think airlines should remove that option)

Why? If the person in front of me in a flight pushes their seat back, then it moves the bottom forward very slightly, so I get about half a centimetre of knee room, and it moves the (small) screen of the in-flight entertainment system closer to my eyes. The seats are designed not to be made more uncomfortable when the person in front of you leans back...

This depends on the plane. Newer Airbus designs do this quite well (the 330? but not the 320/319), sliding the entire bottom portion of the seat forward. Generally Boeing intrudes the seat back into the person behind's space (not sure about the 787 though), and the seatback TV, if one exists, becomes quite difficult to view, even if it is the tilting kind. Regional jets (CRJ, ERJ) are similar to Boeing. It can be done well but it usually is not.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 10 months ago | (#45163977)

Some of us try and use laptops on flights. And the lose of space when the seat in front reclines is significant for me for that purpose. Moreover, even trying to eat the provided meals is harder when the seat in front is reclined. The seats maybe meant not to be uncomfortable when reclined, but if I am trying to do anything with the tray, it's a pain in the neck.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 months ago | (#45163433)

I haven't flown on a commercial airline in about a decade, but last time I did the International flights used to be a lot more comfortable than domestic ones. I was born in the 70s and flying back then seemed like more of a upscale and trendy thing to do. Since then it's gone to being more like being an an airborne Greyhound bus. If I have the time, I'd much rather drive or take a train. Trains are underrated -- sure they take a couple of days but they're a lot more comfortable than flying, you get to see the country from a much different angle and you meet all manner of interesting people.

I do love to fly though, and have been averaging about one flight ever 2.6 days, skydiving down at the local municipal airport. A one-way ticket to 12000 feet is $28 there. Once you start hanging out at a municipal airport, general aviation starts looking a lot more feasible. There are several guys who fly biplanes there I wouldn't mind hitching a ride with, and several hot air balloon pilots around. Next year in June I'm going to start approaching pilots to see if I can find one who'd be willing to fly around for an hour or two at night on the 4th of July, so I and a few friends can watch the fireworks from the air. If the dropzone were willing to fly their big purple otter that night, we could easily get 6-8 people around the open door, one in the co-pilot's seat and maybe one more standing between the pilot and co-pilot. That'd be enough that the cost of running the thing would be reasonable. So yeah, fuck the airlines, but if you enjoy flying general aviation is still pretty fun.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#45163647)

The main problem I see is that the airlines factor in only butts, and forget that passengers also have arms. A flight I was on a couple years ago had me in an aisle seat on a 3-3 narrowbody, and I had to spend the entire flight uncomfortably leaning into the aisle due to a broad-shouldered neighbour. Thankfully, it was only a two-hour hop, and the next flight was less full.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (2)

SillyBrit (3401921) | about 10 months ago | (#45163697)

I've flown on some lightweight seats with Lufthansa on a short haul flight recently. Even on a 2 hour flight, they were the most uncomfortable airline seats I've ever sat in. The seats were very thin, padding was practically non existent & the experience was more like being sat in a waiting room chair. If I knew the seats when I booked then it would influence my choice of airline. So, think we won't notice? I'm not so sure.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (-1, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45163991)

Americans have their seat padding built-in and carry it around with them.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (2)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 10 months ago | (#45163765)

I'd be interested to know what impact this new seat design will have on the incidence of DVT's

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163769)

How tall are you?

I only ask because as a 6'4" person, not being able to recline my seat means there are zero viable options for anything remotely approaching a comfortable sleeping position since the seat back in no way supports my head and neck unless it's reclined. So far in my experience, everyone who's advocated non-reclining seats has been 6' or under.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 10 months ago | (#45163905)

"it was interesting. E.g. there was heaps of leg room!"

That was no legroom, that was a hole in the floor.

Re:Bullshit we won't notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45164087)

[...] even without pushing the seatback back (which I never like doing if there is someone behind me[...]

Thank you!

I think airlines should remove that option

Hear hear!

Stop carrying life jackets? (4, Insightful)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 10 months ago | (#45163223)

Every plane trip you go on will offer you a life jacket. In the past 60 years, I'm confident that a life jacket hasn't saved a life, but it's cost a fortune in fuel over that time...

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (5, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#45163291)

Funny you're so confident about that. You should go back and look at the water landings and ask the survivors if they used their flotation seats or life jackets. Life jackets and flotation seats were added, FAA rules making them mandatory, for a reason. While most of the water landings included fatalities, I'm confident the fatality rate would have been higher without the life jackets.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45163365)

I read an extra Coke can costs about $500 a year in fuel. Still that's not that much per flight, like less than a dollar.

I'll happily budget less than a dollar per flight, for me anyway, don't know about the gp, for a floatation device.

As for fuel itself, I'll happily burn all the oil in Saudi Arabia to save my life.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 10 months ago | (#45163861)

You must work for an airline. Water landing? That airline speak for "crash".

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (2)

geogob (569250) | about 10 months ago | (#45164079)

Or it's coming from someone understanding between a controlled landing, albeit not on a runway, and an uncontrolled flight into terrain... or crash, if you prefer.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

LordWabbit2 (2440804) | about 10 months ago | (#45164099)

Actually they are known as ditchings [wikipedia.org] if the landing on water is not intentional.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (2)

gnalre (323830) | about 10 months ago | (#45163319)

There have been occasions where life jackets have save lives, however it probably is marginal.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163337)

I'm confident that a life jacket hasn't saved a life

err.. are you sure:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_landing#Passenger_airplane_water_ditchings
especially this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163367)

I'm confident that this story had already been reported months ago, but why save energy and fuel cost lets eporting it yet again....

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 10 months ago | (#45163415)

Passengers are where the weight is a real concern. Fatbodies cost the airlines money way more than life preservers. Charge by the pound.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 10 months ago | (#45163489)

Passengers are where the weight is a real concern. Fatbodies cost the airlines money way more than life preservers. Charge by the pound.

I am by no means a fatbody, but I am tall and therefore weigh more than a person with my same build and body type who is shorter than me. I don't much care how much the person next to me weighs (though the airline does). I'd rather those who take up more horizontal space pay more than those who take up more vertical space / weight. I will say that these narrower seats concern me greatly. My hips barely fit between the arm rests I encounter now. (Not referring to the seats specifically mentioned in the article, but the more seats per row on 777 mentioned in summary)

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#45163951)

Passengers are where the weight is a real concern. Fatbodies cost the airlines money way more than life preservers. Charge by the pound.

I am by no means a fatbody, but I am tall and therefore weigh more than a person with my same build and body type who is shorter than me. I don't much care how much the person next to me weighs (though the airline does). I'd rather those who take up more horizontal space pay more than those who take up more vertical space / weight. I will say that these narrower seats concern me greatly. My hips barely fit between the arm rests I encounter now. (Not referring to the seats specifically mentioned in the article, but the more seats per row on 777 mentioned in summary)

So, if the average human adult has a height of 5'6" and a waist of 38" (those are for male and female combined), you are okay with charging extra for people who are outside the norm because their waist is too wide, but not because they are too tall? Avg weight for a human adult is 180lbs, again ignoring gender. (all of those figures come from the CDC).

It is interesting that when talking about weight and the cost for flying, people only look at people who are wider than the norm as if height doesn't add any extra weight.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163577)

This.
I don't understand why they don't do this.
When I fly to the interior they weigh all the baggage and all the passengers to make sure they get the weight right.
Why can't normal airlines do the same thing?
Why should I pay the same as someone who weighs 2 or 3 times as much as I do?

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 10 months ago | (#45163813)

Passengers are where the weight is a real concern. Fatbodies cost the airlines money way more than life preservers. Charge by the pound.

I'm pretty sure that overweight people pay for their ticket, so they don't "cost" the airline anything. It might cost more fuel to fly a plane full of 250lb individuals versus 150lb individuals, but that doesn't mean they are overweight. Maybe they are an NFL football team. Besides, a plane is designed to carry a maximum weight and it will be loaded to that maximum weight, if possible with either passengers or cargo. As such, just as much fuel will be burned. If flights were flying at capacity and they were having to add extra flights to shift the cargo, you might have a point, but that is far from the case.

Of course, as people age, even those who are healthy, they will on average be heavier than they were when they were young, so your proposal is really just a form of age discrimination.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 10 months ago | (#45163575)

Way ahead of you. From 2008.

"Air Canada's Jazz tosses life jackets"
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2008/08/23/air_canadas_jazz_tosses_life_jackets.html [thestar.com]

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (1)

fauxjargon (2804219) | about 10 months ago | (#45163829)

Jazz also doesn't fly over bodies of water bigger than the Great Lakes, which are narrower than the glide distance of an airplane... so there is no likely scenario in which a plane makes a controlled water landing. In an uncontrolled water landing the lifejackets are pretty superfluous.

Re:Stop carrying life jackets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45164033)

Every plane trip you go on will offer you a life jacket. In the past 60 years, I'm confident that a life jacket hasn't saved a life, but it's cost a fortune in fuel over that time...

Airlines should also force every passenger to go to the bathroom for a bowel movement before boarding as well, as that probably weighs as much an inflatable life jacket, and would also save on fuel.

And how many times are oxygen systems really deployed anyway? Do we really need the little bags that drop from the ceiling?

As a tall man, I beg to differ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163229)

As a man who is 6'6" and 255, I have a place in mind where they can stick these new seats.

Re:As a tall man, I beg to differ (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45163285)

As a man who is 6'6" and 255, I have a place in mind where they can stick these new seats.

I'm only 6' 1" and 230, the biggest pain for me is my knees hitting the seat in front of me. Since I have only a 36" inseam, I am seeing 30" between my back and the row in front of me beautiful in theory. In reality, I know my shins are longer than 6", so I am still puzzled on what they are measuring here.

Re:As a tall man, I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163631)

As a man who is 6'6" and 255, I have a place in mind where they can stick these new seats.

I'm only 6' 1" and 230, the biggest pain for me is my knees hitting the seat in front of me. Since I have only a 36" inseam, I am seeing 30" between my back and the row in front of me beautiful in theory. In reality, I know my shins are longer than 6", so I am still puzzled on what they are measuring here.

At 6'1" and 230 your Body Mass Index is over 30 - obese.

At 6'6" your BMI is just below 30, overweight but not quite obese.

The airlines suck, but they are not the only problem. You both probably thought you were just " big men" but basically normal.

Re:As a tall man, I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163913)

Uh, yeah. BMI. Shaq is 7'1" and 325 pounds. BMI 31.6. Well over the obese range. Ya, he looks like a fat cow to me. Pffffft...

Re:As a tall man, I beg to differ (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45164031)

At 6'1" and 230 your Body Mass Index is over 30 - obese.

It might be, if BMI wasn't junk science from the 19th century and didn't only approximate people in the middle of the height range.

(clue: We're three dimensional, we grow in three dimensions, out mass changes as a cubic function of height)

Can I just stand? (4, Insightful)

Bongo (13261) | about 10 months ago | (#45163235)

Would be comfier at this rate.

Re:Can I just stand? (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 10 months ago | (#45163251)

Don't give them any ideas.

Re:Can I just stand? (1)

plover (150551) | about 10 months ago | (#45163269)

Would be comfier at this rate.

Heck, they'll just shorten the ceilings then and stack in two tiers of passengers.

The only trust I have in airlines is in their ever increasing capability of making passenger flight uncomfortable.

Re:Can I just stand? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 months ago | (#45163449)

If you can cram enough people in, think of all the money you could save in seating! And they'll be so jammed together that even if the plane is bouncing like a basketball, no one would be going anywhere! You wouldn't even need seatbelts! Genius! The airlines could use some sort of people-horn device. Like a shoehorn, but for people!

Re:Can I just stand? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 10 months ago | (#45163589)

Not if but you would have to cram enough people in there for safety reasons. If there weren't enough people in the cabin you might get hurt so they must fill it up. It's for your own good.

slim is good :) (5, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | about 10 months ago | (#45163255)

I'd start by saying that I'm bigger than the average. Still, having sat in the slim seats for several travels, I have to say they are more comfortable than the old ones, even in a 3-4-3 row setting. I actually feel like having more leg space (especially for my knees) even if the seat in front of me is reclined. If they all will be like the slim seats on transatlantic LH flights, then I'd take them anytime over the old style seats.

Another reason not to fly (unless you HAVE to) (3, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 10 months ago | (#45163271)

I've more or less stopped flying because of all the nuisance fees combined with the delay/hassle of security screening at the airport. If I need to get somewhere REALLY far away, I'll bite the bullet, but for the most part I've switched to trains and driving.

Re:Another reason not to fly (unless you HAVE to) (4, Informative)

captbob2002 (411323) | about 10 months ago | (#45163377)

My last vacation I took the train (Amtrak Autotrain, Lorton VA to Sanford FL) it was a wonderful experience. Excellent service and food on the southbound trip. Northbound was...okay - I would say very good, except that the southbound trip crew was awesome.

That said, even the "okay" service on the northbound trip was FAR better than any airline experience I have ever had- even when I've flown first class.

Bremen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163273)

Came across twice on that. Barcalounger? How about a 5-star hotel. Took a while longer.

Yeah, the same Bremen, only back in the 60s.

What a useless article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163281)

There are no pictures or diagrams of what the seat design looked like before and after. No discussion of the ergonomics of the change. No nothing.

Just another bitch session about big evil corporate airlines taking bailout money and treating people more like cattle.

The sad thing is that I might have expected better from Slashdot 10 years ago, but today this is just what I expect.

For shame.

Re:What a useless article (1)

Infestedkudzu (2557914) | about 10 months ago | (#45163329)

Might be a bit strong, but I agree this should be about efficiency and ergonomics, maybe some other stuff. It's good that they got rid of old foam style seating. But i bet they had no thought to our long term / short term health.

Re:What a useless article (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#45163727)

There are some pictures here [express.co.uk] and here [news.com.au] . I have to admit it looks like the saving is in the thickness, not squeezing the passenger. I wonder how it copes with the kid who insists on kicking the seat in front!

Abolutely Shameful (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163287)

I'm 6'5" (1.96m) and the biggest problem I have is the seat width. Thing is, I'm not fat, not particularly broad built or even unusually tall. It's just really difficult to get in them, especially when the arms are fixed. The seats as it stands are made for people who are 5'8" or smaller.

This isn't progress, it's shameful profiteering.

Re:Abolutely Shameful (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163363)

Dude, I'm 5"8, and trust me even I feel boxed in. I completely understand taller guys must hate flying. My buddy who is about your height (6'4" I think) says that it's torture flying and that's considering he usually has his kids flanking him so at least he has elbow room.

Re:Abolutely Shameful (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45163441)

My main complaint is the seat backs. They seem to be the exact opposite of the shape of an ergonomic chair, so they push forward at the base (restricting leg room) and then have no support for the lower back. You could easily make the seats thinner and more comfortable, if you took a quick look at the shape of a human before designing them.

Depends which way you turn when you the aircraft (4, Insightful)

gnalre (323830) | about 10 months ago | (#45163299)

Jami Counter, senior director at SeatGuru.com, which tracks airline seats and amenities. 'All that foam cushion and padding probably didn't add all that much comfort. All that's been taken out,' he said. 'You haven't really lost all that much if the airline does it right.'"

He shouted from business class.

I wonder if we made a law that said all airline executives had to fly economy whether they would be so keen to make these changes

How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (4, Interesting)

trout007 (975317) | about 10 months ago | (#45163313)

If people just go to their favorite travel website and sort flights by cost this will continue to happen. Consumers are giving the signal they care about nothing other than cost. If it becomes uncomfortable enough that people select airlines based on comfort over price the airlines will respond. They just want the money. If they could get away with charging more for bean bag seats they would respond.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (5, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#45163521)

If people just go to their favorite travel website and sort flights by cost this will continue to happen. Consumers are giving the signal they care about nothing other than cost. If it becomes uncomfortable enough that people select airlines based on comfort over price the airlines will respond. They just want the money. If they could get away with charging more for bean bag seats they would respond.

Is there even a way to sort flights by leg room (or other seat size parameter) on any travel website? Even if one knew the seat pitches in the aircraft that a given airline uses from external sources, one doesn't necessarily know what "equipment" is being used for any given flight. And even then, they're not all necessarily furnished identically. And your plane could change any time between booking and boarding. If you know of a way to do it, I want to know.

And besides, even wishing for this sort of thing will surely prompt some Slashdot griefer to call me "entitled" for stating my product and service preferences.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163601)

sure, select the flight then get economy+ or first class..

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163565)

I do - as a consequence I only fly Lufthansa or Austrian. Any others are too painful.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#45163725)

I do - as a consequence I only fly Lufthansa or Austrian. Any others are too painful.

Ya, but they don't fly from Cincinnati to LA. You gotta fly to Frankfurt to get a flight to LA. That's in Germany. Capital is Berlin. Population: 80.3 million. Very nice forests.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 10 months ago | (#45163583)

They already do that here in Norway on long charter trips, if you want to sit a) less cramped or with b) more legroom or c) the full space near the emergency exists you will pay extra. But for the typical 45-90 minute flight time I honestly don't care. I could sit on a bicycle seat in almost standing position if it'd pass safety regulations and brought decent savings.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (1)

gnalre (323830) | about 10 months ago | (#45163693)

I could sit on a bicycle seat in almost standing position if it'd pass safety regulations and brought decent savings.

Please do not give RyanAir any ideas. They are doing perfectly well in making flying the travel equivalent of water boarding themselves without any extra input

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 10 months ago | (#45163789)

They already do this. The front row and the overwing exits can be reserved for an additional fee.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 10 months ago | (#45163795)

> sort flights by cost

I'm willing to pay a little more for a better seat, but flying from a smaller airport (Birmingham, AL), there aren't that many choices. You're gonna be stuck on a CRJ most of the time. You don't fly in those things, you wear them. :)

My wife and I have driven 2-1/2 hrs to the Nashville airport in the past just to get a better plane. Of course, the security is lot more of a hassle at a larger airport. It's a beautiful thing. Compensation: getting to watch all the musician wannabes walking around with their instruments, trying desperately to Look Cool. "Hey, I'm in Nashville, someone notice me!" :)

Look: you know what's gonna happen (and is already happening): most of Coach will be cheap, itty-bitty seats all smished together, but for a small upcharge, you can sit in the "extended coach" or "Real Seats(tm)" or "Slightly Wider" sections. I can't justify paying the hilariously higher price for First, but I'm willing to pop an extra $50 for that.

Re:How many people buy a ticket based on leg room? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163809)

Usually I want to fly to a certain destination at a given day. You'd be surprised how much *that* cuts down on my options. And that is being somewhat flexible in my departure airport.

For instance, I recently booked a flight to Stockholm. I checked from Brussels Charleroi, Frankfurt Hahn, Luxembourg airport, Eindhoven Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Yeah - most of those entail travelling to the airport for a few hours.
Guess what? There were about 3 options on the right departure date, exactly one of which offered comfortable departure times (i.e. no need to get up at 5am on your holidays if you don't live under the runway).
Eenie-meeny-miny-moe, right??

But it's even worse. I care about legspace and not having to pay extra for checked luggage and other things. But my first priority when I book a flight is to get to where I am going on any date that suits me and my plans, without travelling for more than 3hrs before getting to the departure airport, and without paying extra while having a stopover (usually, the RyanAir competitors here require a stopover to achieve what Ryanair does with a direct flight :s).

Turns out that even without planning a date or making any other plans than a destination airport, this constraint tends to limit the choices to "here's your flight" usually, and "here's the company you're flying with" invariably.

So actually, currently it's more "I'd be thrilled to pay if you fly to my destination from a more convenient airport on slightly more convenient dates".
I wish I was in a position where the travel plans were not constraint by idiotic schedules (seriously, a schedule for Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings? Oh boy, a whole Wednesday to spend at the destination!), but by choice of leg space / seat space / overhead locker space.

Reality: we're not there and I think we're sooner going to have to pay for overhead locker space than that we'll get an option to pay for improved seating conditions on the flights you'll actually take.

some of us will notice... (1)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#45163335)

I'm a big guy. Not necessarily that I'm fat; but, I have a large frame and wide shoulders. Knowing this I always try to get a window or aisle seat. I found the seats on my last flight to be so tight and I had to lean to one side to avoid constantly rubbing shoulders and arms with the person sitting next to me. Take out another inch of width away and I'm just not going to fit.

Re:some of us will notice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163773)

I'm a big guy. Not necessarily that I'm fat; but, I have a large frame and wide shoulders. Knowing this I always try to get a window or aisle seat. I found the seats on my last flight to be so tight and I had to lean to one side to avoid constantly rubbing shoulders and arms with the person sitting next to me. Take out another inch of width away and I'm just not going to fit.

That's a really nice argument you made there against them removing an inch side-to-side. Unfortunately, you apparently failed to notice that this article was all about removing an inch front-to-back. Nice try, though. Apparently your slashdot username for chosen for a good reason.

Re:some of us will notice... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 10 months ago | (#45163975)

From TFS:

As recently as 2010, most airlines buying Boeing's big 777 opted for nine seats across. Now it's 10 across on 70 percent of newly-built 777s, Boeing says.

That's a really good argument you made there for compulsory reading comprehension captchas. Unfortunately, you apparently failed to notice that you don't know how to understand what you read before you start flaming. Apparently you decided to post AC for a good reason.

Good news for yoga instructors (3, Insightful)

twicepending (936496) | about 10 months ago | (#45163341)

"The seats Southwest has put on nearly its entire fleet are 31 inches apart, about an inch less than before"
" Boeing says. American's newest 777s are set up 10-across in coach"

I'm 6'6" (198cm) and on behalf of tall people everywhere can I express a warm and heartfelt welcome to this policy of even further reducing the amount of room available, if this trend continues soon the we tall people will only be able to fly coach by adopting the Dwi Pada Sirsasana pose which if nothing else should please yoga instructors.

Seat weight (2)

aclarke (307017) | about 10 months ago | (#45163345)

I've wondered for a long time why airline seats are so (seemingly) heavy. It seemed like a no-brainer that they'd be spending money on lighter weight seats. So, I was really surprised upon reading the article that the guy from Recaro said that 5 years ago, their seats weight about 29 lbs. That's surprisingly light for a seat that size and apparent heft when you look at them. Even more incredible is they've managed to save a further 9 lbs off that with their lightest current seat.

At 6'4 I'm pretty protective over my legroom. In my opinion they should improve coach by just not allowing reclining seats. I know that will never "fly", but it really pisses me off when some 5'1 person in front of me reclines their seat all the way back into me once the plane takes off. I just pretend the seat is back in its upright position, and if that means they get bumped every two minutes, they can just move their seatback forward. I guess it's only going to get worse. Or, I have to get a lot richer and start flying in a more expensive class.

Re:Seat weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163523)

29lb isn't that impressive when you consider they're not individual seats, but actually glorified benches.

Re:Seat weight (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 10 months ago | (#45163879)

29lb isn't that impressive when you consider they're not individual seats, but actually glorified benches.

It is pretty impressive for a seat which has to support a 200lb person in a 16g crash and not break.

Re:Seat weight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163637)

Fuck you.
Seriously fuck you.
The default setting of those seats is way too uncomfortable.
Do you seriously expect me to spend 9 hours sitting with a seat back that is almost leaning forward?
It's not like you wake up being suddenly a foot taller than the day before.
You know you have long legs, and are going to have problems.
So book a seat with extra leg room.

Re:Seat weight (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 10 months ago | (#45163695)

Why shouldn't I expect you to keep your seat upright? I have no problem making a trans-continental redeye flight with my seat upright. It's not what I'd call "comfortable", but it's not "comfortable" with the seat back either.

I could contend that if you want a more comfortable seat with reclining room, then YOU should be the one buying the more expensive seat.

I also make allowances for the fact that a larger person is going to want more reclining space than a smaller person, and what time of day/night it is. My point remains though, if you're 5'1 and the person behind you is 6'4, you should take that into consideration before you put your seat all the way back, right after take-off, in the middle of the afternoon.

Re:Seat weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163705)

I've been dreaming of seats that move forward as you recline, so that you reduce your own legroom when you recline. I was amazed to see it in my latest flight. I don't know if these new redesigned seats are like that, but there's hope.

Other news (4, Funny)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 10 months ago | (#45163371)

Sardines claim conditions cramped in tin.

Time for Tube Planes (4, Funny)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 10 months ago | (#45163437)

A bunch of tubes (or padded cubes) where the passenger slides in, a hatch is closed behind them and soothing music is piped in to help them sleep (or gas, whichever works best).

[John]

Siddown (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45163493)

Narrower and smaller? As American narrows seats and strips padding, Americans have been redesigning their seats fatter and wider for 30 years.

And adding inch after inch of padding, too.

Cargo (1)

ad454 (325846) | about 10 months ago | (#45163533)

Rather than do this incremental changes, why don't the airlines simply jump to their end game: drug economy class passengers, slap diapers on them, and put them in cargo?

I am sure that people are working on promoting this as a anti-terrorist measure. (Won't someone think of the children?) Kind of reminds me of slowly boiling a frog in water, except we are the frogs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog [wikipedia.org]

If only we had decent high-speed rail options in North America. Whenever I fly to Europe, I typically take direct flights to hubs such as Frankfurt which have convenient rail stations, and then take a high speed train to my target city, if the train ride is less than 5 hours. (It is usually the cheaper and more convenient option, that takes the same amount of time, since it takes you straight to the city center, and avoids going through European airport security, waiting for a connecting flight, and taking another train to get from the airport to the city.)

Trains instead of Planes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163557)

You know, I'm getting sick of being stuffed into airlines like sardines. If someone would make a SERIOUS attempt to bring back passenger train service, even if it took a few days to get across country, I'd likely go THAT route rather than fly anymore!

          And DON'T get me started on AMTRAK. I've ridden it. While comfortable the food and service generally sucks badly!

        I'm not a Vegan, I'm an Omnivore with a preference for meat, not for some $12.00 soy burger imitation, and I am MOST certainly NOT politically correct!

Jason

Great quote from the summary (1)

cbope (130292) | about 10 months ago | (#45163613)

I love it:

  'All that foam cushion and padding probably didn't add all that much comfort. All that's been taken out,' he said. 'You haven't really lost all that much if the airline does it right.'

Pure speculation at its finest and spoken by a person who probably doesn't travel much.

Airbus 2000 (1)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 10 months ago | (#45163651)

So, we all get to stand up like sardines? Fit a few more in the overhead bins....like right out of M.A.D. magazine's "No Frills Airlines" series.

I still remember taking a flight home on Icelandic Air in the late 1980's....it was a tight fit...but, the food was amazing and the manner they treated us went way beyond exemplary. British Airways was the same way when I flew business class and, in one case, flying home sick (really bad sinus infection (non-infectious, btw)). They did everything they could to make my flight as comfortable as possible including giving me drinks so I would be able to sleep.

Good thing I don't fly any more (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 10 months ago | (#45163677)

My first experience with the newer thin seats was on Continental maybe ten years ago. Within fifteen minutes of sitting down, half the muscles in my back were spasming. The only position I could stand was leaning far forward with my elbows on my knees. After that, I refused to fly Continental except for one case where the usual emergency reschedule landed me on one flying from Atlanta to Phoenix. Spent the whole trip "in the position" -- and I noticed that there were several others, incuding the woman next to me. We compared notes, same story.

And if anyone tells you that packing in more passengers side-by-side won't be noticable, you can bet that either they always fly in first class or are damned small people. As is, put three men of even average size next to each other in a row and at least one of them has to lean forward or twist sideways to make room for all of the shoulder width. Never mind sitting next to someone who weighs 400 pounds and insists on putting the seat arms up so she can overflow into your lap.

Won't notice? (1)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about 10 months ago | (#45163701)

Narrower but you won't notice? BS! I already have issues with lack of shoulder room between me and the guy next to me at times. I sometimes have a slight lean out into the aisle for the entire flight.

The Ryanair Effect (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 10 months ago | (#45163761)

It's the Ryanair, low cost airline effect. It's all about the price, squeeze every penny, charge for baggage, (pretend to) charge for toilet usage, just get them from A to B for the minimum advertised price and them make them pay for it in discomfort, inconvenience, or extra charges later.

And there's something to be said for this model. It has brought affordable, regular, international, air travel to the masses -- for the prices mentioned above.

But, look, let me put it this way: I will pay the extra â100 or even â200 euros per flight to fly with Aer Lingus or BA, in some modicum of comfort, without the mental overhead of restrictions, and to be dropped off in an actual city instead of an airport 80km from where I want to go. There are limits to how low people will go for the right price and I think the airline industry has already hit that mark.

I recline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163771)

I have gold status on two different major rewards programs which lets me board early. As soon as I get to my seat I recline it fully as a way of showing dominance over the person that sits behind me.

newsworthyness ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163851)

Totally off topic, but I hate these newsitems that have no pictures.
Just show us the damn seat, so we can actually comment on it and compare to seats we know.

No, they rather make us read a 1233-words article (guess journalists still are payed by word), where one picture would have made everything clear at once...

BA (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 10 months ago | (#45163853)

Every so often I fly on BA from London to Houston. I swear that the seats in economy on BA have less room than the seats on easyJet. Also after about 4 hours, the BA seats feel like slabs of concrete.

I'm not complaining though, the round trip on BA is stupidly cheap, and it includes free booze (which alleviates the concrete seat problem somewhat).

Slave ship packing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45163925)

The designers should look at the efficient transport of 17th C slave ships. You'd only lose a few on the way over and there was no queuing for toilets!

Dreamliner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45164029)

Even with new planes this issue will still exist. Boeing created a recommended seat pitch for passengers on their new Dreamliner. Of course, the US airlines are completely ignoring the recommendation and installing more seats. This, despite the fact that the Dreamliner is much more efficient. They are completely ignoring passenger comfort just to squeeze every last penny.

Whenever possible, I fly JetBlue and pay for the extra room seats. Not because I am big, but because I like to be able to move around in my seat.

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