ESPECIALLY SINCE AMERICANS ARE GETTING LARGER AS THE SEATS ARE GETTING SMALLER: Coach seating on airplanes is a ‘Titanic waiting to happen.’
A recent investigation from the Daily Beast seems to confirm nearly every airline passenger’s worst fear: Coach seating “could be a death trap.”
The site has reportedly examined “over 900 pages” of documents from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration and concluded that newer coach-class seating sections may not provide adequate room for evacuation in case of an emergency.
Following up on a lawsuit filed by the Flyers Rights nonprofit group earlier this year, the Daily Beast has uncovered new information on the US Court of Appeals and its ruling that the “densification” of coach seating on newer airplanes presents “a plausible life-and-death safety concern” for passengers.
According to the Daily Beast, the court concluded that the FAA was relying on outdated studies when arguing that no new evacuation tests were necessary to determine safety standards in more modern, cramped aircraft. For instance, the site reports that neither Boeing nor the FAA has released the evacuation data for the newer “and most densely seated” models of the Boeing 737.
“The tests carried out to ensure that all the passengers can safely exit a cabin in an emergency are dangerously outdated and do not reflect how densely packed coach class seating has become — or how the size of passengers has simultaneously increased,” wrote the Daily Beast.
Flyers Rights claims that the width of a standard coach seat has decreased from an average of 18.5 inches to just 17 inches since the early 2000s. The space between a one coach seatback and the one in front of it — also called the “pitch” — has also shrunk from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches. And on the shortest end, the pitch in some planes is only 28 inches.
It seems plausible that that would make a difference.