Travelling with large passengers

By | Category: Travel rumblings

airline seats – getting smaller, packed and with little legroom

Once again the issue has arisen of what happens if you are seated on a plane next to a large passenger.

It has come about because a traveller into Heathrow sat next to a large gentleman whose body slurped over into what might be regarded as the next passenger’s area of comfort. The traveller claims that he has become ill as a result of having to sit in an abnormal position and is claiming compensation.

Disregarding whether the traveller really became ill as a result of sitting next to a large passenger, this incident raises, again, any number of questions. Are airline seats too narrow given that people have altered their body shapes over the last forty years? Not only are we taller but we are wider as well. Should larger people be forced to buy additional seats? That could be considered unfair particularly on those who have medical conditions. Why is it that IATA and airlines seem to have no seat width that has been approved by health and safety officials as being a minimum requirement? How long must one sit in an airline seat before it is adjudged that the way we sit and the amount of space we have could impact on us from a medical standpoint?

This isn’t an issue of how much a passenger weighs although that plays a part, but their size. As we, as humans, seem to be getting taller so we get wider. Even if we all had acceptable medical body mass sizes we would still be bigger than the dimensions used to design many airline seats.

At present, we are told that we should move our muscles and undertake some exercise whilst flying in order to reduce the chance of stiffening and blood clots. As it is our feet tend to swell if you are unable to walk around once in a while. As airlines try to omit refuelling stops on long haul flights so that, in another few years, flights of 17, 19 and 20 hours become the norm, should seats be re-designed so that there is sufficient space for us to be able to move about particularly so that we do not infringe on the ability of adjacent passengers to be able to move about?

The time has come when a sensible debate needs to be had about airline seat sizes.

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