Being “squashed” in airline seats

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Many of us have drawn the short straw on flights and got the middle seat. Sometimes I think that that is bad enough but having, either side of me, rather large if not obese people does make any flight a little uncomfortable to say the least.

In Australia, the website of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp ran a story about an Australian passenger on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. On the fourteen hour flight he had a window seat but claims that the person next to him “spilt over and encroached” which caused him to “contort his body into a series of positions including standing up, crouching, keeling and leaning forward.” The man next to his neighbour was also said to be large

The passenger, Michael Taylor, is seeking S100,000 (I take this to be Australian so about £77,000) in damages because he “suffered back injuries, neck pain and injuries, ongoing discomfort and the aggravation of pre-existing scoliosis — curvature of the spine.”

Although the flight happened in 2015 it is only know that papers have been filed to sue the airline, American Airlines, so it will be sometime before the outcome is known.

It comes at a time when new aircraft have less room in them for passengers than older planes do. Airline companies are seeking to pinch half an inch here and there in order to get more seats into a finite place. One airline is removing toilets in order to gain additional seating.

But this comes at a time when people are getting bigger. I’m not saying passengers are getting fatter although that is probably true but because of improvements in hygiene, people are taller which means that overall they are bigger. At what point will airlines realise this and enlarge seats and the space around them?

If Mr Taylor’s case is successful it mmight make the airlines think again and give us sufficient room for health reasons  as well as comfort.

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