Have a seat


With the evolution of the seat and the benefit of modern technology, don’t you wonder how the airlines manage to perfect the art of making the seats in economy so uncomfortable?

The airlines would like to hide the obvious fact that more seats equal more revenue. They live in a fantasy world where the normal passenger is 5 foot 6 inches tall and 160 pounds or less.

Things get quite tricky when you are over 6 feet tall or carrying around some extra body weight. One airline’s solution was to charge extra-large passengers more. In addition to the carry-on baggage template, maybe there will be a big-butt template? “Excuse me sir, could you please have a seat in the Dairy Air-o-Meter?”

I imagine in the future there could be an airline designed for the overweight passengers. Wouldn’t Richard Simmons be the perfect flight attendant for that airline?

In an attempt to make you forget how uncomfortable you are, the airlines stick a video screen in front of you. If the video system is actually working, it hopefully will keep your mind off of your throbbing knees and swelling feet. The only problem with this is that they put the outlet box under the seat in front of you, taking away even more of your precious foot space.

Don’t you just love the announcement upon boarding, “Your primary luggage stowage area is located under the seat in front of you.” Where? You have got to be kidding! Yes, we are. We don’t actually believe it either, but have to make the announcement, regardless.

You shimmy your way into the small seat and try to make the best of a tiny situation. You get accustomed to it after a while and try to fool yourself that it is not as bad as you had originally thought. The seatbelt sign goes off and the person in front of you reclines his seat into your lap. As you analyze the head that is now two inches from your face, your blood begins to boil.

Did you know 75 percent of all in-flight fights are caused by disputes relating to the seat-reclining issue? People are very protective of their personal space no matter how small it may be. Realize you can always negotiate the seat angle with the person in front of you. Don’t kick the seat first, as the negotiation process will be considerably more difficult.

A new airline scheme making its way to the front line is the different classes among classes. No longer is it just first, business, and economy, but here comes economy first with an extra six inches of legroom and economy business with two inches. Unfortunately, that leaves economy coach with about negative twelve. One airline even came out with the advertisement slogan of “What would you do with an extra six inches?” They scrapped the idea once they realized the sexual innuendo.

Do you think it’s intentional that boarding is done from the front of the aircraft, displaying the deluxe seats you aren’t sitting in? By the time you get to the economy coach class, the seats look like the size of a shoebox. A small piece of advice that I can offer you is to ask at check-in for a seat in one of the front rows of the economy section. The gate agent will know what you mean without you having to come out and say it.

Ideally, the new class scheme is designed to give the higher revenue passengers and the elite members of the frequent flier program an added perk of a few inches of legroom. But what will end up happening is the clever traveler will get a $200 international round-trip ticket seated in economy first, while another passenger paying $1,200 for the same trip is seated in economy coach. With the new low cost carrier craze I fear that more seats and smaller legroom are just around the corner.

My solution to this whole class-within-a-class issue is that instead of six inches of extra leg room for a few rows, give two extra inches for the whole section. I even have the perfect ad slogan: “Two inches can make all the difference in the world.”