Airplanes Are About To Get More Cramped

Photo: Paul Grover/REX Shutterstock.

Read it and weep: Your air travel experience is about to become much less comfortable.

It's all thanks to new aircraft designs in the works at Boeing and Airbus, both of which have plans to squeeze more seats on board in forthcoming airplane models. While that translates to more money for the airlines, economy-class passengers will likely take a hit when it comes to comfort, legroom, and seat pitch (a.k.a., the distance between your seat and that of the passenger in front of you).

Though its current model, the 737-800, has 160 seats, Boeing is raising that up to a rather claustrophobic 189 when it rolls out its 737 MAX aircraft in 2017, the L.A. Times reports. Ryanair's version, meanwhile, will extend that to 200 seats. 

"When it comes to passenger comfort, the airlines are saying that this isn't something that's very important to them," Eric Gonzales, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told the Times. "These changes are intended solely to improve the bottom line."  

Your bottom line, however? It won't be comfy. With the influx of seats, cushions are expected to get narrower, with less padding to boot. 

The paper has called for industry standards on minimum seat pitch and cushion width, but will air travel authorities take action? Or, should we just cross our fingers that the passenger whose head is about to recline into our lap at least uses nice-smelling shampoo? (L.A. Times)

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