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Monday, September 8, 2014

Have a Nice Flight or Fight?

I recently wrote about the “reclining controversy” on planes, “Reclining or Not, A Eureka Moment in Air Travel”, 9/2/14. Since I wrote that blog post, a total of three flights have been diverted over passenger disputes related to the reclining, or not, of seats.
Contrary to what has been claimed in the press, I did not believe that passengers suddenly had just gotten more surly and uncontrollable due to the stress of air travel. Though there’s no question air travel is stressful and unpleasant these days.
Rather, in my September 2nd post, I placed the blame for the recent spate of in-air fussing on the greed of the airline industry for cramming passengers like too many crayons into a box. I’m happy to report that I’m not delusional in believing the space allotted each passenger on planes keeps getting smaller.
According to Consumer Reports based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the airline industry is, to use Consumer Reports’ language, “shoehorning” us passengers into our seats these days.


Crowded flights and reclining seats don't always mix. Consumer Reports has tips on how to keep your cool at 36,000 feet.

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The article notes that Ellen Bloom of Consumer Reports  goes on to say, “she is disturbed by media reports that frame these battles as problems between passengers, when in fact it's a no-win scenario deliberately created by the airlines. ‘It's like building a swing set in the middle of the street and then acting surprised when kids get hit by cars,’".

No wonder passengers are starting to fight over space. People like any other mammals, start to fight if you squeeze them too tightly together. Rather than announce: “sit back and relax”, the flight attendant should be saying, “squeeze in and hold your breath”. Maybe the flight attendant can come around with some knock-out pills instead of a beverage cart. Giving passengers drinks only provides something for us to throw at each other.

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