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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room 819

The AP reports that American airplane passengers, squeezed by increasingly tight seating aboard planes, are lashing out, actually getting into in-flight fights over knee room: Three U.S. flights have made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every bit counts. ... Southwest and United both took away 1 inch from each row on certain jets to make room for six more seats. American is increasing the number of seats on its Boeing 737-800s from 150 to 160. Delta installed new, smaller toilets in its 737-900s, enabling it to squeeze in an extra four seats. And to make room for a first-class cabin with lie-flat beds on transcontinental flights, JetBlue cut the distance between coach seats by one inch.
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

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  • Anthropometrics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:35AM (#47845323)

    Since they have apparently reached the limit of human tolerance, one answer is to offer wider seat spacing for a little extra price on some flights. The remaining "dense pack" passengers then have no reason to complain: "If you needed more space, why didn't you choose our XL flight?"

    • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:39AM (#47845351)
      You silly person, that's not how customers think. They will choose the cheapest offer, and complain about the quality. Your only hope is to not offer such cheap options.
      • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:47AM (#47845395)

        Yes, because customers aren't stupid. They smell a price hike from a mile away.

      • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:59AM (#47845445)

        Exactly. Well that and the details aren't spelled out by the airlines either . When you pick economy the seats may or may not be as advertised. The same airline and the same plane can have different configurations. Dimensions of space aren't listed anywhere when booking a seat.

        Airlines are running into physical space issues. In their quest for ever more seats The airlines are beginning to ignore basic human needs. People need to move around. The tighter and more closed off you make people feel the more likely they are to get into arguments. This is not only true physically, but mentally as well. Arguments lead to fighting.

        It is why Cities have always struggled. To many people to close to each other. The wealthy always purchase enough space to make themselves comfortable. However the poor can not and once you get so many people pressed together they fight. That fighting spills outward and you have a riot over a simple issue that is dealt normally dealt fairly.

        • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

          > Airlines are running into physical space issues. In their quest for ever more seats The airlines are
          > beginning to ignore basic human needs. People need to move around. The tighter and more closed
          > off you make people feel the more likely they are to get into arguments. This is not only true
          > physically, but mentally as well. Arguments lead to fighting.

          But as long as there are not so many problems as to damage their bottom line, they can just blame the incidents on the passengers

          So really, th

          • Especially with "failure to obey flight crew" charges as a threat

            Maybe if the airlines want to cram so many folks into the space, they should look at preventing the seats from reclining at all. Even with plenty of room (ie, my 3 year old is in hte seat) a reclining seat will do its best to kill a laptop screen. Fortunately, I caught it quick enough to move the laptop, wait for it to be reclined, and reposition laptop so said 3 year old could keep watching Peppa Pig.

            • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Interesting)

              by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @11:33AM (#47846175)

              Most seats no longer have enough room to open a laptop.

              As a frequent flier and 6 ft tall, I can attest that airline seats have gotten to the point of cause widespread pain and suffering, including physical injury. There is not nearly enough competition in the airline industry to lead to improvements driven from capitalism. This is unfortunately the time where government needs to step in for the general well being of society.

          • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Informative)

            by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @12:48PM (#47846643)

            But as long as there are not so many problems as to damage their bottom line, they can just blame the incidents on the passengers

            Maybe passengers can take the blame for fighting incidents. But probably not other problems that may arise... like medical issues.

            It's long been known that flying in cramped conditions leads to a much higher risk of blood clots [nytimes.com] and deep vein thrombosis [wikipedia.org], particularly on longer flights.

            The most common recommendation to avoid these problems is to move around more -- both actually getting up and walking around and doing various exercises to move your legs around while you are sitting. Making flights more cramped makes it more difficult to both -- when it's harder for people to maneuver in and out of a cramped seat, they are less likely to do it as often to walk around (particularly for older folks or those with more difficulty moving around, who are more at-risk for these problems). And if you are tall, these new seats may make doing any kind of leg motion in your seat nearly impossible for exercise.

            This is not a minor issue. Average treatment costs for a year after a diagnosed case of DVT are $20,000-30,000, not to mention potentially life-threatening complications.

            Right now the incidence is significant but still relatively low (maybe 1 in 4500 people who fly). It will be interesting to see if further restricting motion and cramming people in will increase these risks.

            And if it does -- then the cost of cramming people into tighter seats is more than just the potential for some disagreements and fights. We may be talking about serious expensive medical problems, potentially resulting from airlines squeezing one more seat in here or there.

        • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Informative)

          by naughtynaughty ( 1154069 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:43AM (#47845625)
          There are websites that specialize in giving you the seating configuration for a particular flight. One is SeatGuru While they can change aircraft between when you book a flight and when the flight takes off it is pretty accurate. If comfort is important to you then you should be rechecking the seat map several times before the day of your flight and adjust your seat based on any changes. Often better seats will open up several days before a flight as people are upgraded to 1st class. You have to spend a bit of time if you want the best seating you can get. 2nd exit row, aisle or window seat are two of the best seats in economy. Book early and snag those seats.
        • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:51AM (#47845663)

          However the poor can not and once you get so many people pressed together they fight.

          The solution is simple: load them up with tranquilizers/sedatives and stack 'em in like cordwood. ;)

          • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Interesting)

            by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @07:52PM (#47849015)

            The solution is simple: load them up with tranquilizers/sedatives and stack 'em in like cordwood. ;)

            I know you're joking, but I would absolutely LOVE that. We just don't have the technology for it yet ... but if we ever perfect safe and cheap suspended animation, this would be the perfect solution for everyone. Airlines can cram 4 times as many people on a single flight, airfare costs half as much, and your journey subjectively lasts a fraction of a second. It's a win-win proposition.

        • Airlines are running into physical space issues. In their quest for ever more seats

          It's not the airlines quest for more seats, it's the passengers' quest for even cheaper fares.

          If airline A has 34 inches of pitch with a $550 ticket and airline B has 30 inches for $500, the passengers will flock to the $500 ticket.

          Passengers need to start making it clear with their wallet that they are no longer going to fly lower-priced sardine airlines.

          • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @11:42AM (#47846221)

            Airlines are running into physical space issues. In their quest for ever more seats

            It's not the airlines quest for more seats, it's the passengers' quest for even cheaper fares.

            If airline A has 34 inches of pitch with a $550 ticket and airline B has 30 inches for $500, the passengers will flock to the $500 ticket.

            Passengers need to start making it clear with their wallet that they are no longer going to fly lower-priced sardine airlines.

            If airlines were required to advertise seat pitch and width, then consumers could make that choice, but when even consumers that care about it have trouble finding out exactly which aircraft serves a route for their date of travel and what the seat configuration is, it's hard to blame consumers for not taking it into account.

            • by TarPitt ( 217247 )

              And post ticket prices in currency units per available seating space. They do this at supermarkets, post prices per standardized weight to permit comparison shopping, why not airlines?

        • Cheapest Ticket (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:56AM (#47845991) Journal
          The only way this would work is to place height restrictions on the different classes of seat. I'm an academic and when travelling for work I have to purchase the cheapest ticket. Without a height restriction I would then be forced to purchase a ticket for a seat I physically could not sit down it (I already have to pull out the magazines on US carriers to allow blood flow to my feet).

          This can then open the debate about whether it is reasonable for an airline to charge someone extra just for being tall - something they had no control over and which is gender-biased. After all they don't charge more to provide special meals for those with dietary preferences or religious beliefs and, with the exception of medical conditions, that is a voluntary choice. Nor, I hope, do they charge disabled passengers extra for transporting wheelchairs etc.
        • "Stand on Zanzibar", anyone?

          Much like "The Sheep Look Up", it's one of John Brunner's novels that has stayed fresh and relevant. The guy wrote a lot of "throw-away", thin novels, but his great stuff was prescient and stylish in a way that has not tarnished with time.

      • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Informative)

        by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani@ d a l . net> on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:29AM (#47845577)

        The problem is twofold. I travel a huge amount for work, and I am required to select the cheapest available option (within a window). The only thing that saves me from spending 10+ hours a week in huge amounts of discomfort due to the amount of space is my frequent flier status.. Those extra 5" of legroom are luxury when you travel as much as I do.

      • How would we know? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:59AM (#47845705)

        There's no choice. There isn't a "little bit better" choice on domestic flights, even international flights on the same continent. When I fly up to Canada to visit my parents I have two options: Coach or First Class. The prices are VASTLY different, first class is over double the price of coach. Now it is much nicer, wide seats, plenty of legroom, and all the booze you'd like if you are the sort of person who likes to drink. But it is really expensive.

        There's no mid-range option. I can't pay 1.2x the coach price for something a bit better. If I could, I would.

        So how would they know? I've never seen it tried. If they offered the option and those seats always sat empty, or were full of people who had been given upgrades for no money, then ok, remove them. But they aren't available. Your only options are "cheapest possible" or "waaaaaay more expensive."

        • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:57AM (#47845995)

          There isn't a "little bit better" choice on domestic flights, even international flights on the same continent.

          Of course there is. Lots of airlines have a "little bit better choice" option.

          Here's one - About $50 - $75 more on a flight to Canada -

          http://www.united.com/CMS/en-U... [united.com]

        • Exit row seating usually offers a bit more leg room with no reclining seats in front of you. It used to be free, now many airlines charge for it. Therer is no shortage of takers.

          I am 6 foot 6. I would rather stand for two hours than try to sit in one of those seats. Only problem is that i am not allowed to stand (I have asked) and on many planes I can't stand up straight anyway. I don't need the knee defender. If you are sitting in front of me, you will not be able to recline your seat.

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      http://www.united.com/web/en-U... [united.com]

      Now. Ask about ticket price.

    • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by anarcobra ( 1551067 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:59AM (#47845439)
      KLM has this. I almost always pay for the extra leg room. It gets more and more expensive every time I fly though but on a 9 hour flight it makes a big difference for me.
    • Many airlines, including United, already offer more legroom in certain seats as well as some seats where the seat in front of you doesn't recline. Wider seats aren't the problem in this story but you are always welcome to pay for First/Business class if you want more width to your seat
    • No, ultimately, their job is to carry passengers. That means they need to offer enough space for a passenger to sit in. The airline's only choice is to not shrink the seats any more. This may of course mean price increases for all seats.

    • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrsquid0 ( 1335303 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:59AM (#47845703) Homepage

      At least one of these "knee jerk" incidents took place in a section of a plane where passengers did pay extra for extra leg room (United's Economy Plus section). The problem is that the more people pay for their ticket the more entitled they feel.

    • Two things come out of this:
      - IATA needs to regulate this.
      - Leg spacing and seat size should be mandatory provided information in any booking.

      On one hand you can argue that the passengers are getting what they pay for, but on the other hand you can also argue that customers don't have this information, at time of booking, to make an informed purchase choice.

      At the same time if fights break out often enough, requiring forced landings, then I think people will start realising thi

    • Re:Anthropometrics (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:52AM (#47845965)

      one answer is to offer wider seat spacing for a little extra price on some flights

      At check-in, United Airlines offers economy seats with much better legroom for a modest upcharge. On a transcontinental flight it's usually around $60 - $70.

      I travel a lot for business (60 segments so far this year), often in Economy Plus, and there are usually many seats in E+ available, even when sardine class is completely packed.

      People simply refuse to shell out the coin for additional comfort. I think if E+ *were* full you'd see United expanded it until eventually their entire aircraft had room leg room at a higher price.

    • by jbssm ( 961115 )
      Or to just do the obvious and install seats that don't recline like you already have in many low costs European carriers.
  • by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:36AM (#47845339)

    and this is what happens. Survival 101: you do not violate my personal space. EVER.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:43AM (#47845367)

      Amateurs. [wikimedia.org]

    • by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:46AM (#47845393)

      and this is what happens. Survival 101: you do not violate my personal space. EVER.

      What's your "personal space" in this context? Having a button to recline your seat conveys permission to use said button. That said, one uses it judiciously and slowly...and you have the right to do the same.
      It's when idiots use something like Knee Defender that the system falls apart.

  • Judging by images like these [fotki.com], today's business class is pretty much what economy class used to be in the 70s. Some argue that flying has become too cheap. I beg to disagree: flying in a humane manner has not become cheaper, it's just that you'd have to book business class nowadays.

    • by boaworm ( 180781 ) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:44AM (#47845379) Homepage Journal

      Well put. Prices have gone down drastically because of a number of factors.
      * Less space per pax
      * Better aircraft and engine
      * Better utilization of aircraft
      * Reduced service (drinks+meals moved to paid ancillaries)

      Todays "coach" class really is no more than a bus. If you want comfort, upgrade. Else, suffer in silence :-)

      • by quetwo ( 1203948 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:54AM (#47845683) Homepage

        Wish I could upgrade. My company will only book the cheapest fare (X or lower), which usually ends up to be about a $500 fare between Detroit and LAX. Because they won't pay for the upgrade, I have to wait for the day of the flight to do an upgrade, and the last time I tried, they offered an upgrade to business class for an additional $600, or first for $1200. I used to be able to use my miles to upgrade, but Delta changed the rules so that I can only use my miles to book flights. I'm always number 200 on the upgrade list because they take care of the families that got their branded credit cards before me (I only have 200,000 miles -- but somehow the people who never flew before have 250,000 on their account).

        The other solution people give is to fly another airline. That's fine if you are in New York or California -- but in the midwest, there are only two to choose from -- United and Delta. Both are in a heavy competition to see who can be worse. Every airport within 250 miles of me only offers one of those two to any destination that is not Florida or Mexico.

        But that's ok. I guess I deserve it. Every time I fly my knees swell up and look like and apple after a food fight because the 5' 3" housewife ahead of me deserves to lounge in comfort. I have an appointment to have the cartridge behind my knees to be scoped because they are torn up -- and I don't run marathons or do any activities that would produce that outcome (other than flying a few times a month). Being a healthy 6'4" with long legs is not easy if you need to travel in the USA for your job.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          Wish I could upgrade. My company will only book the cheapest fare (X or lower), which ....

          This is actually a core part of the problem - as companies switched to this policy of Cheapest-Fare-Only, and only looking at the immediate costs (and not extras, like luggage, meals, oxygen etc), airline companies got into a race to the bottom in costs (services etc per passenger) without any profitable group to help offset their bottom-line; business customers used to be good money for the airline companies when they traveled Business or First class.

          So now we have a setup where the immediate ticket price

        • 6'4" buddy here.
          I always take an aisle seat which gives me the chance to stretch my legs whenever I want too.
          If you travel for work, flights are often booked late so you may not have the chance of choosing your seat.
          However, I don't mind for short flights (2 hrs). Transantlantic flights (+8hrs) are hell.
        • by JoshWurzel ( 320371 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @12:20PM (#47846463) Homepage

          If you are in the US, please let your company know that they're risking a worker's comp suit by refusing to purchase you the legroom that you need. Protecting the health of employees on the job is not optional. They may not have the same obligation if you're overweight (unless squeezing into the seat is also injuring you), but if you are incurring injuries during the execution of your job responsibilities then the company needs to do what it takes to prevent that from happening, up to and including eliminating travel from your job responsibilities.

          People also need to be aware of their body type when booking on their own dime. Cattle class is fine for a couple hours if you're less than 5'10" and less than 160 lbs. I'm small enough to fly across the US in standard economy. But if you're too big to fit in a standard seat, you need to do the right thing for *your* health and comfort.

    • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:13AM (#47845507) Journal

      That was an advertising photo. You don't think it bore any relationship to reality, do you? Look at airline ads these days. Full of happy, smiling passengers. When was the last time you saw anyone smiling on a plane?

    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:20AM (#47845545)

      I used to think that... then I flew through Asia and the Middle East.
      Plenty of leg room, free dinner that was actually tasty, free drinks, the flight attendants treated you like royalty.
      But most importantly: The tickets were cheaper.

      So one has to question whats wrong with airlines here... why can't they make money? My only conclusion is that the frequent bailouts they've received has allowed them to institutionalize failures in their business models. We need to stop "Saving" industries/businesses. Failure is good for the system.

      • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:04AM (#47845729) Homepage Journal
        The cruise lines also treat people like royalty, even more so than the Asian airlines. Also, the cruise lines are cheaper and include foo, lodging and entertainment. And the make money.
        Somehow, airlines have managed to cut salaries by 2/3, raised prices by over 3 times, all but eliminated meals, charge for every extra, and with most other factors like fuel costs, being the same, have managed to lose money while doing it. It is an incredible phenomenon, and some enterprising PhD student could probably figure out how to prove 1=0 if they could apply the business model of airlines to mathematics.
      • by Mousit ( 646085 )
        This is something that still shocks me every time I fly on a non-American airline; I never get used to it. Probably because the domestic American airlines continue to get worse, so every foreign airline experience seems even better by comparison. :P

        As an example, I recently flew to China. All on Air China. NYC -> Beijing, Beijing -> Xi'an, Xi'an -> Shanghai, Shanghai -> Beijing, and Beijing -> NYC. That entire itinerary cost about the same as a round-trip flight between NYC and Beijing
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @12:06PM (#47846379)

      Judging by images like these, today's business class is pretty much what economy class used to be in the 70s.

      Hoo boy. Do you have any idea how much more expensive flying was in the 1970s, before deregulation? [wikipedia.org]

      In 2011, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (who worked with Senator Kennedy on airline deregulation in the 1970s) wrote:
      "In 1974 the cheapest round-trip New York-Los Angeles flight (in inflation-adjusted dollars) that regulators would allow: $1,442. Today one can fly that same route for $268."


      Of course that factoid cherry picked the 1974 fare to coincide with the Arab oil embargo. But current oil prices [cloudfront.net] are actually higher in inflation-adjusted dollars, and a cheap ticket between LA and NY is still around $350.

      Some argue that flying has become too cheap. I beg to disagree: flying in a humane manner has not become cheaper, it's just that you'd have to book business class nowadays.

      Of course that's exactly what happened. Because back when the LGA-LAX ticket cost $1442, very few people flew. The fundamentals of weight on an airplane and fuel use means the more people you can squeeze on a plane, the cheaper it is (per seat) to operate. So when federal regulation fixed the lowest airline price at $1442 making it inaccessible to the vast majority of people, the planes were emptier and the airlines could get away with fewer seats.

      Air travel is in the state it's currently in because passengers prioritized lower fares over seating space, and the airlines found a way to deliver upon passenger desires. If passengers had demanded lush, business-class seating as you suggest, then that's what airlines would have delivered. Most of the seats on airplanes would be business-class sized, and a LGA-LAX ticket would still be around $1442 (actually, probably higher since current real oil prices are higher than in 1974).

      i.e. It's not that current seating is "inhumane", it's that your definition of "humane" differs from what the vast majority of people buying airline tickets consider to be acceptable. Many airlines have premium economy seats [united.com] offering an extra 5-6 inches of legroom at a higher price. A few people are willing to pay for those, but not many. If more people were wiling to pay for those bigger seats, the airlines would put more of them in - unless you're a monopoly, you always make more money giving people what they want.

      The fundamental problem with air travel is that it's too fast. People look at that tiny seat and figure they can deal with it for a few hours. If air travel were slower and you were stuck in that seat for a day or two, people would demand more room.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @08:54AM (#47845417)

    gets both larger, (higher BMI, greater average height), and older, (aging population). Something's gotta give.

    I know! How about some shareholders agreeing to make slightly less profit on their investments in order to increase comfort and safety for many millions of people? And how about the food industry agreeing to dial it down on the addictive, fattenning foods they make and push?

    Nah, silly idea - forget I said it. What was I thinking?

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:21AM (#47845551) Journal

    Ticket prices should be based on a combo of flying weight and space. Flying weight is passenger plus baggage weight. Space is a function of height/weight of the passenger and dimensions of their bags. If you're really tall, and/or really fat, you're going to pay more for a comfortable seat, but you will get a comfortable, safe seat, and those around you will, too.

    It shouldn't be too hard to make aircraft seating configurable for passengers of different weights/heights.

    It seems likely to me that cramming seats so close together is a safety issue. I wonder what the wreck stats show about leg injuries.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:29AM (#47845575) Journal

    1) At some point the cost of diverting flights will exceed the profits generated by cramming more seats into the planes and the problem will correct itself.

    2) The airline will figure out a way to shift the cost of flight diversion onto the passengers and the problem will just get worse.

    My money is on #2

  • by Provocateur ( 133110 ) <shediedNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:31AM (#47845583) Homepage

    The gentleman in question had wanted to use his laptop to update his notes after a business trip, if I recall correctly. He put the gizmo called 'knee defender' so that the passenger wouldn't recline as he worked on his computer. He says he should have handled things differently; he was stunned when 1) the passenger actually poured water on him, splashing a bit on his laptop, and 2) that their plane was diverted over the incident. He also switched to an airline that didn't have reclining seats the rest of the trip

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2014 @11:32AM (#47846165)

      The gentleman in question had wanted to use his laptop to update his notes after a business trip, if I recall correctly. He put the gizmo called 'knee defender' so that the passenger wouldn't recline as he worked on his computer. He says he should have handled things differently; he was stunned when 1) the passenger actually poured water on him, splashing a bit on his laptop, and 2) that their plane was diverted over the incident. He also switched to an airline that didn't have reclining seats the rest of the trip

      Well, to put it more accurately, by installing the device, he removed the ability of the woman in front of him to recline her seat without informing her that he had done so. He noticed the complaint from the woman to the flight attendant that her seat was not reclining and/or the flight attendant asked him to remove the devices, at which time he removed the devices. The woman reclined her seat abruptly, which almost damaged his laptop. Then he pushed back hard on the seat and reinstalled the device, at which time the woman threw her drink at him. The woman was moved to another seat, but the man apparently verbally abused the flight attendant, and this resulted in the diversion. It was probably not his choice to book a different airline that did not have reclining seats, it was probably that the airline refused to book him a continuing flight.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/03/air-traveler-at-the-center-of-the-great-seat-reclining-debate-im-pretty-ashamed/ [washingtonpost.com]

  • by scotts13 ( 1371443 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:42AM (#47845619)

    You can't physically cram people any tighter, and fights are breaking out. Good. When they discover they're losing more on bad PR and flight diversions than they're gaining, they'll put back the inch or two - for a while. Now that they've reached bottom, the floor will just bounce from now on; the came couple of inches continually added and subtracted subtracted every 2-3 years, forever.

    As far as blaming people for not buying an upgrade, has anyone saying this actually looked at prices? Last couple of times I flew, I looked into it; a little more room doesn't cost you 10% or 20%, it's more like double or triple the ticket price. Actually habitable travel accommodations are only for the wealthy.

  • Engineering solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2014 @09:45AM (#47845635)

    Sounds like the pivot for the recline is incorrectly placed. I regularly travel by train, and am then offered the opportunity to recline my seat by releasing a latch and moving the seat forwards. It reduces my own knee space, not anyone elses.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:18AM (#47845809)

    Seriously, the number of people talking about how this isn't a problem, while simultaneously - gleefully - discussing what they'll do if someone tries to take their room, or someone won't let them take their room, pretty much dismisses any counter-argument to the idea that there isn't a problem.

    There obviously is.

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Sunday September 07, 2014 @10:49AM (#47845945)

    I'm wondering at what point are the consumers going to rebel against all of this. The whole luggage debacle has to be included in this discussion too. First, the airlines decided to start charging for checked baggage. The customers responded by not just switching to carry-ons but finding the biggest carry-on possible and getting one for each of their kids too. Trouble is that overhead storage can't accommodate one of these for every passenger so now the extras have to get checked at the door and they don't get charged for this either. The result is more pissed off customers and departure delays. The real question is why this had to happen in the first place. Was it the additional cost of fuel? Unlikely because fuel costs are directly related to weight and the planes know how much they weigh. Is it then the higher cost of fuel? Maybe but if domestic production of oil has been increasing over the past ten plus years and is now surpassing imports to the point of producers wanting to export, why are the fuel costs still as high as they were ten years ago? Or is it labor costs which never go down?

    Which leads us to the seating arrangements. Adding 10 more seats puts another roughly $5000 revenue per flight assuming that the flight is fully booked. Would you be willing to pay an extra $33.33 for one inch of legroom? If people aren't willing to spend $25 to check a bag, $33.33 must make people apoplectic. What would you be willing to give up to bring those costs down and the comfort level up?

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Sunday September 07, 2014 @11:20AM (#47846089) Homepage

    Look, I don't even blame these people that much. When someone reclines in front of you on a plane, it is HORRIBLE.

    If you want to take a nap on a plane, then upgrade to premium economy or first class. Otherwise, keep your damn seat upright. I hate how reclining is still allowed on flights. Reclining your seat on plane is SO INCONSIDERATE to the person behind you. It jams the seat into their legs, it screws up their tray table angle, and it makes it IMPOSSIBLE for the person to get any work done in the plane. The only course of action you have is to ALSO recline your seat to try to re-gain some room, even if you didn't want to. Now you have not only screwed over the NEXT person behind you but you also might be hurting your back because you need to sit upright. Awesome.

    Honestly I don't know why airlines still have reclining seats in coach nowadays. If they would just eliminate the ability then fights like this would not occur.

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