A Little More Leg Room, Please
Flown a budget airline in Europe lately and felt envious of the amount of space sardines have in a can? There may be changes afoot. According to a report in the London Daily Mail, budget airlines are being called on to give their jam-packed patrons extra leg room.
According to the report, "The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee called yesterday for the minimum distance between seats to be increased from 26 inches to 28.2 inches. The change would allow passengers to adopt the brace position properly in an emergency and increase their comfort, the committee's report says. Airlines affected by this increase would include easyjet, Monarch, bmibaby, First Choice Airways, My Travel, Thomas Cook and Thomsonfly, some of whose seats have pitches between 26 inches and 27 inches."
Earlier this year, colleague Carol Sottili took a flight on Monarch from London Gatwick to Alicante, Spain, and then on Easyjet from Alicante to London Stansted. She said she would fly Easyjet again -- leg room was adequate and the seats fairly comfy -- but would never again jam herself onto a Monarch flight. Leg room was tight, but the angle of the seat was unbearable. "I felt like I was pitching forward the entire flight," she said. "And when I tried to move my seat back, the person in back of me kept jabbing my seat. Looking around, I noticed that I was the only one on the entire flight who had tried to recline her seat. I must have broken some sort of unwritten rule on discount European airlines -- no moving the seat back!"
I was on Easyjet myself last year, and while it wasn't horrible, I'm always rooting for extra legroom (I'm 6 foot 1). Are you listening, Southwest?
The newspaper report does suggest a downside to providing extra space for passengers: According to the British Air Transport Association's Roger Wiltshire, "If a new regulation reduces the number of seats on an aircraft there would be unavoidable knock-on effects, increasing the cost of travel and greenhouse gas emissions."
Tough decisions, for sure, but I'd be willing to pay extra for just a little more space. I can do without pretzels and Pepsi on a flight, but my knees can't do without a little breathing room.
What do you think? What airlines are particularly bad when it comes to leg room? And what do you do to ease the distress?
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