No, the Authorities Can’t Give You Larger Seats for Free, However Can Make Your Ticket Value Extra

No, the Authorities Can’t Give You Larger Seats for Free, However Can Make Your Ticket Value Extra

Congressmen from Illinois and Tennessee are again re-introducing laws to require wider seats and extra legroom in coach. (HT: @aheeger)

Christopher Elliott and Charlie Leocha and Flyers’ Rights have hawked this concept prior to now.

And since an important factor about any piece of laws is a catchy acronym, this one is named the SEAT Act (“Seat Egress in Air Journey.” type of a stretch — and it’s not the primary SEAT Act).

Congressmen Cohen and Kinzinger complain, “The common distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches earlier than airline deregulation within the 1970s to about 31 inches in the present day. The common width of an airline seat has additionally shrunk from 18 inches to about 16 ½. ”

That’s completely false. Seat width was as soon as 34 inches on empty planes with regulated excessive fares however most People don’t have the expertise of that. And common seat width is just not 16.5 inches in economic system in the present day. Boeing narrowbodies have a median seat width in economic system of ~ 17 inches and Airbus narrowbodies a median seat width of ~ 18 inches. It appears the issue right here is the airframe. Ought to we outlaw the 737?

In addition they invoke “deep vein thrombosis” and declare that “smaller airplane seats” haven’t been correctly examined by the FAA. They don’t say it right here, however they could be speaking about slimline seats that are actually licensed. However then they individually speak about plane evacuation instances, and planes are examined for the power to evacuate. Their workers writing press releases are seemingly confused, conflating points (or taking language fed to them by Elliott, Leocha, et al).

  • Commonplace legroom on US carriers hasn’t decreased over the previous 20 years. Common legroom has truly elevated over that point, with the arrival of additional legroom (“economic system plus”-style) seats.
  • Airways have supplied 31 inch pitch (distance from seat again to seat again) for a lot of a few years and so there’s ample empirical proof on this. The place’s the medically documented well being epidemic?
  • Spirit Airways gives three fewer inches of legroom in most seats. Many airways do the identical. These seats are thought of ‘secure’ if not uncomfortable. However Spirit isn’t the first goal of the group’s criticisms, the key airways are. (And with out Spirit’s enterprise mannequin competing in opposition to the key airways, fares can be larger.)

Seats could also be much less comfy with the arrival of slimline seating and 10-across 777s (and 9-across 787s). And planes are extra full than they have been 5 years in the past. However none of that could be a legroom problem per se.

American Airways Boeing 787 economic system legroom

“Fundamental Cabin Additional” gives further inches of legroom

What degree of consolation any passenger wants will fluctuate based mostly on private preferences, physique traits, in addition to the size of the flight.

British Airways intra-European enterprise class gives solely 30 inches of seat pitch. At some degree I do this’s legal! Nevertheless it’s additionally absurd to criminalize have been US airways to repeat it.

We’d all like it if airways simply needed to give us extra space, and there have been no penalties past that. However proscribing seats on a flight raises the value of remaining seats.

The underside line is that this:

  1. There are totally different airways providing totally different merchandise.
  2. Most airways provide totally different merchandise at totally different worth factors.

What the SEAT Act would do is criminalize the least costly choices, so all we’re left with is:

  • Planes with fewer seats
  • The next price per seat
  • And better fares

In the present day customers can select the extent of comfy they’re searching for, and what degree of consolation is price paying for. What Cohen and Kinzinger would do is get rid of the cheap selections, so everybody that may nonetheless afford to fly will get extra at a better worth. They’d outlaw the extremely low price service, which means an finish to competitors that retains airfares low as effectively.

American Airways 787 Enterprise Class Seat