While the media has quieted down about the recent seat reclining issues (surely you heard about the in-flight fight over leg room), the situation is still a very sad state of affairs. Passenger rage erupting as it did is a sign of a bigger problem as personal space on airplanes has dramatically changed over the years. Giving up blankets, pillows, and meals was easy to swallow because travelers can carry those items on. But personal space? There’s only so much of it on a plane.
In a USA TODAY article, reporter Bill McGee, outlines other seat size-related issues in addition to the leg room problem, such as smaller seats and fuller cabins. When you add these discomforts to all the other “trials” of air travel, the rage may well be understandable.
Mr. McGee also discusses the width of airplane seats, which, in the United States, is smaller than other countries, yet Americans have the average largest hip size of the countries mentioned. “In 2002,” he reports, “British ergonomics firm provided data on human hip sizes worldwide. The result? Yep, the United States ranked first (20.6 inches), ahead of Germany (19.6), Britain (19.1), France (17.2), Japan (15.9), and China (15.6). It seems safe to say such averages have only increased over the last dozen years.” Seat widths in 1985 ranged from 19.5-20 inches, but in 2014 they are 17.2-18.5.
Judging by this data, my guess is we will be seeing more passenger rage as time goes on.
Check out the full USA Today article here.