Are Shrinking Airplane Seats a Safety Hazard?

Whether you’re booking independently or through a corporate travel agency, traveling for business can be stressful and uncomfortable. Airlines are continuously working to find new ways to get more seats on a plane to make more money.  

Their recent tactic is to decrease pitch size, the distance between a row of seats, from 31 to 28 inches. A smaller pitch size means more seats, and thus, more tickets sold. It allows airplanes to hold more passengers, but at what cost?  

Shrinking seats are not only making flights more uncomfortable, but they are also jeopardizing travelers’ health and safety. Here’s how. 

Health Risks  

The logic behind making seats smaller makes sense for airline companies. Smaller seats mean more seats, which equals more money. But, taking away comfort in flight can lead to many health risks for passengers.  

One of the most common health risks from air travel is deep vein thrombosis, also known as “economy-class syndrome.” This condition is caused by being immobile on long flights and can result in blood clots forming in leg veins.  Those in window seats have twice the risk of getting deep vein thrombosis than those on the aisle seats because they are not able to move as freely.  

Taller passengers may suffer bruising on their knees from being pushed up against the back of the seats. Passengers may also complain of neck and back discomfort from being held in such a tight capacity. 

Lessening Safety Concerns Can Lead to Injuries   

Years ago, if you had a window seat, you would be able to move past the people next to you and walk around the cabin. Now, you’re lucky if you can fit a book between your knees and the seat in front of you.  

The close parameters cause passengers to rub elbows and bump into one another, which can lead to ‘air rage’ and cause physical altercations on board.  Passengers may also become frustrated as they squeeze to put their luggage in the overhead compartments, only for belongings to fall on fellow passengers.  

In the case of a crash, passengers are told to lean forward and cover their heads with overlapping hands to lessen the risk of head and spine injuries. However, passengers and experts are concerned that the space between seat rows has become too tight for passengers to adopt the braced position for impact.  

Safely Exiting a Plane 

According to FAA regulations, passengers must be able to exit a plane within 90 seconds with half of the exits blocked. Airlines are performing this experiment, but their results simply aren’t realistic. The people who take part in the simulation are in a plane with a 31-inch pitch, are aware of the experiment, are wearing athletic clothing, and are in physical shape.  

For starters, most modern planes do not have that much pitch room. They are also not considering that in an event of a crash, smoke will overtake the cabin, adrenaline will be rushing, and there may be handicapped passengers. They need to produce simulations that are realistic.  

Don’t worry about finding an airline that is affordable, safe, and comfortable. Let Teplis Travel, a corporate travel agency with over forty-five years of experience, take care of you! We book your travel accommodations, so your trip can be stress-free. Contact one of the travel representatives, or call 1-800-669-6547 to book today.  

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