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Old 7th Sep 2001, 16:40
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Paxing All Over The World
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This is cut down from the London Times of 5th Sept 2001. Full story at:

The Times

AIRLINE seats are so tightly packed together that passengers cannot adopt the “brace” position in an emergency and may take
too long to escape from a burning plane, according to a study commissioned by air safety regulators.

The minimum distance between seat rows, known as the seat pitch, must be increased by at least 3in, the report recommends. However, an extra 10in may be needed to accommodate taller people safely.

The report, which has been obtained by The Times, is being considered by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority. If the
recommendations are adopted, airlines will have to strip out up to 100 seats from each plane. UK airlines say fares would rise by a third.

Charter and budget airlines would be most affected because their seat size is close to the current minimum, which the report finds is unsafe. One charter airline has estimated that it would cost 50 million a year to comply with the recommended new sizes.

“Most carriers have found few passengers are willing to pay more for extra legroom,” a spokesman for the British Air Transport Association, which represents airlines, said.

The report calls for a series of evacuation tests to be carried out to establish how many extra seconds it takes to escape when the seats are tightly packed. The report also recommends further research into the risks of developing deep vein thrombosis from sitting in cramped conditions.
<CUT>
The seat width, which is unregulated, was also too narrow on many planes, with “larger passengers having great difficulty in getting in and out of their seats”. It was also impossible, when seated, to avoid “body contact” with people in neighbouring seats.
<CUT>
The researchers, from Nottingham University Medical School, Loughborough University and the ICE ergonomics consultancy, criticise the current regulations for failing to take into account the 1in-2in of space lost when the person in front reclines his seat. The study recommends that the minimum be measured when the seat is reclined and be increased from 26in to 28.2in, meaning the gap would have to grow by at least 3.2in.

However, the report says it may be necessary to increase the seat pitch to 35in to allow for the “optimum safe brace position”.

The seat pitch on some charter airlines can be as little as 27in. Budget airlines tend to offer 29in. The study recommended a minimum seat width of 19.6in, 4in more than currently offered by some budget airlines. To comply, they may have to remove a whole line of seats running the length of the plane.
<CUT>
The CAA said that the report was being considered by the Joint Aviation Authorities, the European-wide safety regulator, which would decide whether to impose the recommendations.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 17:12
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Considering that you moan and bellyache all the time on the 'Cabin Crew' forum about the cost of the airfare to the Isle Of Man, I guess this would mean the end of your air travel as a pax.
You could always take up 'spotting' instead!
BTW my cars a bit cramped, maybe I'll sue the balls off F*rd (have to be careful) for DVT.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 17:29
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Paxing All Over The World
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Oh dear! I grumble about paying one of the highest airfares in Europe and then you do not wish to consider anything else that I mention?

I shall not bother other readers with the number of times I pay a fare that I consider reasonable and that includes paying for 'C' on my own account.

The point of posting this item is to sit back and watch the response in the main media (I expect low) and the reaction of the airlines/CAA.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 18:13
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Then again why not log onto 'airdisaster.com'
Look at the video footage of some real crashes, and decide yourself whether or not an extra 3-4 inches legroom would have helped you walk away from that firey mass of moult and metal.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 18:40
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Having just returned from SFO to LHR in United Airlines' economy section, I can honestly say the ammount of space (or lack of it) is appalling. There's no room with the seat in front in the vertical position; when it's reclined it causes physical pain.

It'll probably take a lawsuit to change it though.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:01
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I think the Europeans and Brits should nationalize their aviation industries, lower fares, and increase the seat pitch to reasonable levels.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:14
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Crash Barrier I suggest you sit in any UK Charter Aircraft for 5 hours and try to atempt the brace position. Unless your in extra legroom seats or your a 3' midget. You won't be able to do it. Not every emergancy where the brace is adopted results in total fatality. I would be more worried about getting past the guy that gets wedged between the seats while the acrft's on fire, than if I'm gonna sue the airline. All pax should assume some risk when travelling and should not be allowed to sue, in return the airline should ensure that pax has the best possible chance of surviving an incident.
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:16
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Paxing All Over The World
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CB, because I KNOW that personal survival in a crash is largely due to luck. I do what I can to improve the luck that I am given (familiarity with the a/c I am in; counting rows and so forth).

The point of posting this was that it is 'news' and may generate some discussion in the public. I doubt it.

We all know that what has been found has been common knowledge for those who take an interest, or participate, in the airline business.

Of course Road Trip has probably found the answer
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:16
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You can't have it both ways, you know - lower fares and more legroom!

However, if the charter boys have to increase their pitch by 10 inches and widen the seats sufficiently that a seat per row is lost, that will mean that for Mr & Mrs Shellsuit there will be precious few fortnight breaks in Ibiza for 149. That in turn will mean that there will have to be a serious and significant rationalisation of the UK charter market - meaning lots of redundancies.

However, that said, the Germans are perfectly happy to pay higher fares for more comfort and hopefully it will result in a better class of pax - reducing incidences of 'air rage'.
 
Old 7th Sep 2001, 19:51
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Paxing All Over The World
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Guv, could not agree more. If your comment re legroom/price was aimed at me, please do not be misled by others. I am always willing pay the rate for the journey and the space. My issue is with profiteering but that is the delight of having a monopoly on a route!
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 21:28
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It was, I believe, Satan who decreed that all coach seats be the same. Why not make all clothing the same size as well!

The only rational solution is to classify pax by height. Have two or three zones - one meeting the current standard, and the others bigger.

I am 6'-3 and 235 lb. And yes, the 12 hours SFO-ICN on United did make me want to sue someone. Must be my dang american DNA....
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 22:37
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Crash Barrier

What exactly is "moult", as in "moult and metal"? Is it the stuff you get when you brush your long-haired cat?
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 22:55
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Over the last couple of years I've been lucky enough to be a regular SLF, and I for one would pay more for comfort, but only to a point (i.e. I can't afford business class!). An extra 50 on long-haul I would gladly part with.

The difference in pitch on the different 'classes' of airline is very noticeable. For example, I've been very comfortable in economy with CX and DL, yet recent trans-atlantic flights with AIH and BY were, quite frankly, horrendous. Like being in cattle trucks.

For most passengers on these charter flights, however, it's probably their one trip into the air per year, and they'll happily suffer discomfort in order to save a few quid. These flights are always full, and that speaks for itself. Noticed a lot doing exercises, though...

Must credit both Easyjet and Ryanair while I'm here, as I've always found them both comfortable (albeit on short-haul).

Heading back to the original post, I wouldn't imagine that increases in pitch and seat size would make a huge difference in a 300+ mph crash. Runway incidents / fires, yes.

But as already metioned in this thread, we as pax have to accept to a degree that business is business and 100% safety can never be provided due to economic constraints. I, for one, have faith when I board, but a bit of extra legroom never goes amiss!
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Old 7th Sep 2001, 22:56
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The only way to get more seat pitch is tne UK market is to legislate. I suffered a dreadfull flight home in a spotty M airbus with my knees hard up against the seat in front and my bum wedged in the seat back. The quicker a minimum 31/32 inch seatpitch comes in the better.

The seat width comments are equally valid.
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 00:37
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You can't be serious, Roadtrip. State-run companies are a recipe for disaster in any industry- here in Canada the most dangerous form of transport is the state-run rail service, and AC had its share of horror stories before it was privatized. Oh, and let's not forget what a wonderful record Aeroflot had!
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 01:04
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Everyone would like more legroom. No one wants to pay the extra money. Most (if not all) UK charter airlines now offer some sort of premium class, for which you get a much bigger seat as well as some other frills. It does cost money though. On short haul around 50-60 return. On long haul quite a bit more. Some pay, some just buy the cheap seats then whinge.
If you are large then you have a choice. You buy yourself two seats or you pay extra for a seat with more room.
If you find economy uncomfortable then buy a Business Class seat. If you can't afford a business class seat and find you can't fit in an economy seat then don't fly. No-one is forced to go on an aircraft.
Economy class is a chance for those who don't mind putting up with a bit of discomfort the opportunity to go to places they otherwise could not afford to visit.
Just look back in time. Flying used to be a luxury, with individual service and a "luxury" cabin. And few could afford it. So economy class and the charter airlines came in.
Perhaps airlines should advertise that a standard seat is available at "x" price, but if you want a smaller seat its half the price. Guess which cabin will be full?
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 01:39
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As a former skinny but now large person part of me has to agree with Mr Benn's rather acerbic comment...if you don't fit don't fly!

Why do I agree with him? well because everyone in an emergency should be able to "get around" an aircraft and very large people not only can't manage themselves but might block others.

I am a tall female and in the past couple of years have put on weight, as it happens, and the reasons are purely personal/medical and not to be shared in this forum. When I was skinny I was comfortable in any old airline seat. When I last flew to FL to visit friends in a BA 777 I had to request an aisle seat so that I had a chance to get myself out of the seat to visit the loos and generally give my legs a chance to move! To get in and out of the seat (with the one in front of me reclined) I had to clamber over the arm. I am still (relatively speaking) a young and mobile individual but anyone other would have been stuck. In an emergency those inboard of me (had I been immobile) would have been in trouble!

Most clothes manufacturers realise that the "standard" size is no longer a standard - I think airlines do have to acknowlege that a Brit 10/US 8 is no longer standard and to create cabins/seating more tailored to reality. If they wish to continue hiring tiny cabin crew that is fine but just recognise that pax sizes are different in 2001.

This does not mean I don't agree with Mr Benn - in fact in another forum I had the outrageous idea that a passenger should be weighed with checked bags and carry-on bags and there should be one UNIT of weight allocated per seat that can be distributed how SLF prefers. The fatter/heavier passenger would just have to pack less or take fewer gifts or just pay the diff!!

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Old 8th Sep 2001, 02:10
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Hi all, don't know if you only are interested in UK carriers or not, but if you want some nice leg room fly American.
I didn't pay any more for my ticket than the going price on other airlines at that time.
I had not flown them in many years and it was a nice surprise. The extra room really made a difference. I am tall and was with a toddler and it really helped make the trip more comfortable.
I hear there are one or two more US carriers that are now doing the same.
Hope this helps for anyone that really wants that extra space.
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 04:38
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Hey how about a A380 config'd for the hadj? Anybody for a cheap ticket to Saudi Arabia.

Squawk 888 - Tongue was firmly in cheek with that crack about nationalizing airlines. Although, if you guys would like to do that up north, I'm sure some US airlines could fill the gap when AC grinds to a halt under government management. Be glad to send you some of our very effective bureaucrats from the Dept of Transportation and the FAA to help out. You can even keep them . . . please.
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Old 8th Sep 2001, 06:01
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Mr Benn,

TVs and cars also used to be a luxury, so let's have a reality check. As times move on, so do people's expectations. And so should the service provided.

I count myself very fortunate to be able to see the world and fly a great deal in the process. But the last two long-haul charter flights I've been on (AIH & BY, as mentioned previously) simply took the p**s. It was worse than sitting in the back of a mini. I've flown on many such a flight before, but the space provided is decreasing by the year.

There's no doubt that such charter airlines are doing what they can to further profits, i.e. maximising the amount of seating in the cabin. People may not complain en-masse, but does that make it right??

Perish the thought, but if an aircraft configured with minimum pitch seating should ever have a major runway incident, then God help those on board.

It's correct that such 'budget' flying gets many people to places they might not otherwise go. Without wishing to sound condescending to such pax, ignorance is bliss. That is, until it backfires.

In ten years time, the goalposts will have moved considerably. And those airlines that do not adapt will suffer. Those pax who may be ignorant now will soon demand more. The more they travel, the more they will learn, and the more they will expect.

More airlines should follow the 'American' example. Why did they increase pitch? Because US citizens use air travel more, and are more 'sussed' as a result.

It's the reality of the modern world that the /$ sign rules. People may be ignorant, but they are not stupid. Someone should give pax a better deal, and then they will see that the punters WILL pay for it.

Let's see the end of airborne 'charabangs'!
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