Little Leg Room Leads to Frustrated Travelers and More Unscheduled Landings

Little Leg Room Leads to Frustrated Travelers and More Unscheduled Landings
Image: Pixabay
September 2, 2014

Are you getting taller, or are those airline seats getting smaller?

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that as airlines squeeze more seats onto a flight, passengers are losing their legroom and their tempers causing an increasing amount of unscheduled landings.

Most specifically, passengers are getting into brawls over reclined seats, which has never failed to impede on one's precious personal space.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in the report that as seats get closer together, flight attendants are spending a lot of time de-escalating conflict. Whether or not to divert the plane to make an unscheduled landing is up to the pilot, but when it does, it can cost the airline $6,000 an hour. This doesn't include the emotional cost to already-frustrated passengers who spent hours waiting to be screened by security and fought for space in the overhead bin.

According to the Associated Press, in order to increase profits and squeeze more people onto flights, airlines began taking away inches – usually just one - from each row to fit more seats. Even onboard bathrooms are getting downsized in order to fit more seats. If you happen to fly first class on JetBlue cross country, you'll be able to sleep peacefully in a lie-flat bed. JetBlue made the extra space by cutting an inch of legroom in coach.

While airlines say seats are being redesigned to create the sense of more space, passengers are still feeling the squeeze.

In the latest event, a Delta Air Lines flight was diverted to Jacksonville when two passengers got into a fight over a reclined seat. On Aug. 28 a flight ended up in Boston after two passengers got into a truffle for the same reason.

A United Airlines passenger's use of the Knee Defender, a gadget that keeps seats from reclining, resulted in the user having a cup of water dumped on him by the passenger whom he was trying to defend his knees against. Both passengers weren't allowed back on the plane after it made a landing in Chicago.

United Airlines prohibits the use of the device.