What we’re reading: Airline seats shrinking, Flyersrights.org calls for transparency in merger, new pilots making near minimum wage


Airline seats are now 1.5 inches narrower than they used to be

No, it’s not your imagination. Airline seats are indeed shrinking.

The airlines have a good financial reason: Carriers are investing money, space, and design smarts — but mostly in the front of the plane. While catering to business and premium economy flyers, they’re literally shrinking seats in coach.

The width between coach seats is at best 8.25 in., and is usually less than that. According to SeatGuru.com, United Airlines flies Boeing 757s with seats that are only 17 in. wide, both in Economy and Economy Plus; Delta’s Airbus 319s have seats that are a mere 17.2 inches wide in Economy and Economy Comfort.

Airline passenger group calls for transparency in American US Airways Merger

Flyersrights.org is filing comments with the US Department of Justice calling for “the release of lobbying, political contribution and negotiating communications that preceded the sudden November settlement of the Obama Administration’s antitrust suit to block the largest airline merger in US history.”

FlyersRights.org President Paul Hudson noted that, “The settlement does not meet the basic smell test as being in the public interest due to massive and secretive lobbying of the Obama Administration by parties with a financial interest in higher airfares at the expense of airline passengers. FlyersRights.org filed a Freedom of Information request which was denied in its entirety by the Department of Justice.”

What can new pilots make? Near minimum wage

If you’re a pilot and thinking about a career in the airline industry, you may want to reconsider or get another job in addition to your job with the airlines.

Starting pilot salaries at 14 U.S. regional carriers average $22,400 a year, according to the largest U.S. pilots union. Some smaller carriers pay as little as $15,000 a year. The latter is about what a full-time worker would earn annually at the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage.

(Photo: Douglas P. Perkins/Wikimedia Commons)

  • Susan Liberantowski

    seats are shrinking as people are getting larger.