All coach seats are not created equal
April 29, 2002 8:25 PM   Subscribe

All coach seats are not created equal Every inch counts. Airplane coach seats with extra inches of stretching room. Print out and keep handy for when you fly.
posted by Voyageman (29 comments total)
I personally like the emergencey exits...they generally have the most room on the plane.
posted by jmd82 at 8:36 PM on April 29, 2002

jmd82, you must fit the profile. A travel agent told me those seats are only ever allocated to people who are tall and strong enough to move the doors during an emergency, which makes sense ofcourse.
posted by Tarrama at 9:03 PM on April 29, 2002

Ya think? I'm 5'8", 145lbs, and I was seated at the middle emergency exit on an international flight. Didn't ask for it. Just got it.

I liked the leg room. Hated the engine noise.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 PM on April 29, 2002

Actually (at least on Delta Airlines), anyone able-bodied person who is over age 15 can sit in the emergency exit row.

There are a few things that can bar you from sitting there, but you don't have to be of a certain height, or you don't have to look like you can kick ass or something...
posted by lnicole at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2002

As an answer to the question in the link, yes, airlines should restrict reclining seats. Nothing says "you're going to have a bad flying experience" like the guy in front of you fully reclining his seat back into your face while the plane is still on the ground. Unless it's the kid in front of you doing the same thing, only turning around to stand up in the seat and stare at you.

In a perfect world, people would have more respect for each other. Since that isn't likely to happen, my suggestion would be to restrict seat reclining to overnight flights, and not during any times meals or refreshments are served. Sensible? Maybe not. But, I can dream.
posted by yhbc at 9:23 PM on April 29, 2002

I was seated at the middle emergency exit, across from the jumper seats on an international flight from Bombay to NYC on a 747-400, and I don't look like I could kick ass or something... :)
posted by riffola at 9:24 PM on April 29, 2002

Is it just me or do certain airlines (ATA, America West) reconfigure seats so that only pygmies could be comfortable? I am only 6-0 and I swear to god that every year there is less & less room on these planes. I'm 38 so I don't think I'm getting taller. Anyone "in the know" about this or am I hallucinating?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:40 PM on April 29, 2002

Reclining seats should be banned, or at least restricted to half of the recline angle currently allowed. I always check behind me before I recline, to see if the person is using the tray or something -- and I still feel guilty when I recline more than a couple of degrees., naturally, being 6-4, I feel zero compunction in using my knees as wedges to stop the person in front of me from reclining. I've even had people think that their seat was broken because it wouldn't recline.

In a perfect world, I'd simply be lying down. I don't need more than a few inches of vertical space -- the airlines could stack us five high and still have room for baggage.
posted by aramaic at 9:54 PM on April 29, 2002

You mean a travel agent lied to me? I'm shocked and appalled!
yes I know...and gullible too.
posted by Tarrama at 10:02 PM on April 29, 2002

Or, if you live in Milwaukee, you can just travel on Midwest Express.
posted by mrbula at 10:42 PM on April 29, 2002

In a perfect world, people would have more respect for each other.

Tattoo it on your ass, make some color copies, and put it on 100 billboards in the 100 largest cities in the US. Maybe you'll make a difference, no? ;)

And as someone who is 6'3", I definitely appreciate the emergency exit rows, but at the least, I must have an aisle seat. Welts on my elbow or heel from the serving carts are definitely worth it.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:47 PM on April 29, 2002

In my experience, airlines will let any able-bodied adult sit in an exit row, because the emergency doors weigh something like 40 lbs, and it does not take Superman to lift one of them. They just make sure that you're willing to help if needed.

Every once in a while I'll get stuck in one of those rows where the seats do not incline at all (the rows right in front of emergency exit rows). That is really painful - sitting for three or four hours with your seat always at 90 degrees. Heh, don't get me started on the food...
posted by epimorph at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2002

There was a show called "Better by Design" on Trio that had an interesting Seymour-Powell design for an economy airline seat(scroll down to figure 3-2).

They used a lot of mesh, like an Aeron chair, to thin out the back of the seat, altered the geometry of the recline function to reduce intrusion into the seat behind you, thinner armrests for increased ass capacity, and several other features that looked like improvements.

Looked more comfortable, and seemed like a great improvement cosidering the design constraints.
posted by dglynn at 11:04 PM on April 29, 2002

It seems to me that asking for a specific seat on a plane in these days of paranoia would lead to a body cavity search. Mere possession of such a document as linked to above would be enough to call the dogs out.
posted by bug138 at 11:05 PM on April 29, 2002

I recently flew out of Logan on Northwest. They have computer check in where you can actually bring up a screen with the seats that are filled and simply touch the seat on the screen where you want to sit and print out your own boarding pass. I take the second exit row because they have the room AND they recline. I am 6'7" so it is very important to me. One of my biggest gripes is that America makes more arrangements for fat people than tall people. Fat people can lose weight, I can't make my bones shrink. Ever been in a "Big and Tall"? They should just call it "Big".
posted by McBain at 11:23 PM on April 29, 2002

I recently flew on United transatlantic and then United again on a connecting domestic US flight. It makes no sense that for the 12 hour long transatlantic flight my knees were right up against the seat in front but in the tiny domestic plane I could stretch right out.

We should all be protesting against the seat pitch of these airlines. In time we will win the argument that it is inhumane and the minimum seat pitch allowed by law will be extended. Airlines argue that people wouldn't be willing to pay more but I disagree. I think people would be willing to pay 10%-20% more to have seven or eight rows of seats torn out and the seat pitch significantly increased.
posted by skylar at 11:35 PM on April 29, 2002

Amen McBain! Amen!
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:41 PM on April 29, 2002

McBain - It's not "Big or Tall," it's "Big and Tall."

They told you right up front, man!
posted by NortonDC at 4:32 AM on April 30, 2002

I fly a Europe....and the general thing about emergency exit seats is that you have to be able to 'do the business' if the unthinkable happens - but you also have to be able to fluently speak the language of the crew (i.e. French on Air France, English on British Airways)...

Of course...once it goes down, I think the universal language of 'get me out of here' would speak volumes.

As for coach/economy seats...I regularly take a one hour extra drive, to fly one airline that gives me a decent size 6ft2 and many many pounds (I'm english...and can't convert stones to pounds) - most seats are uncomfortable...its a huge problem....
posted by mattr at 6:53 AM on April 30, 2002

American Airlines advertises "more room" on "many" of their flights, and I flew them at Christmas. Whaddaya know, they weren't lying -- three out of the four planes I took had enough legroom that my knees weren't crammed up against the back of the seat in front of me. (The fourth one was probably a TWA plane they hadn't got around to adjusting yet.) And the ticket didn't cost any more than the same flight on other major airlines. I was much pleased and recommend American to other tall people.
posted by kindall at 8:25 AM on April 30, 2002

Years ago Southwest used to advertise that when they bought a plane for their fleet, they removed all the seats, and only put half of them back in. I can remember flying them in the early 1980s and having it be as close to a Town Car in the air as I've ever experienced in Coach. But I don't think they do that anymore....unless I've grown that much, their seats seem just as cramped as everyone else's.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2002

I just flew America West a couple weeks ago -- they claimed that they had removed rows to increase legroom. It was reasonably spacious, compared to Northwest, which I usally fly.

(Of course, I'm only 5' 5", so "spacious" to me might not be for others....)
posted by gohlkus at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2002

I just flew America West a couple weeks ago -- they claimed that they had removed rows to increase legroom. It was reasonably spacious, compared to Northwest, which I usally fly.

(Of course, I'm only 5' 5", so "spacious" to me might not be for others....)
posted by gohlkus at 9:26 AM on April 30, 2002

I took a flight back from Minneapolis to Tucson over New Year's Eve day. I was, by chance, seated in an exit row. I loved the extra leg room, but I was sitting next to a really old guy with a hearing aid and liver spots. I looked over, and the guy next to him, even older and reading a book about heart transplants. In front of me, 3 old people, 2 of them ladies. On the other side of the isle, ALSO 6 MORE OLD PEOPLE! The stewardess came by and asked if everybody thought they were able-bodies enough to operate the door, help people out of the chute, and catch people at the bottom, etc. They all said that they could and she walked away with a defeated look on her face. I was stunned. Those greedy bastards wanted the extra leg room! At the expense of the safety of the 90-odd people around them.

I almost wanted the plane to crash that day, just so that I could shove it in their face when they couldn't open the doors, and broke their hips trying to jump out.
posted by askheaves at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2002

It's not "Big or Tall," it's "Big and Tall."

I think he means it's only big, if it's anything like women's clothing sizes, which only get taller until size 12, after which you have "plus sizes" that are wider BUT NO TALLER. I had to discover L.L. Bean's nice happy tall jeans so that I didn't have to go around looking like some freakin hobo because they wouldn't make pants that fit me.

My tickets were booked for me for my trip to Europe this summer (it's a group school thing), but I'd definitely have to remember this if I go anywhere with my boyfriend, who's about 6'6". And all his height's in his legs, just like me.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2002

I've been on an old DC-3 airliner, and you would not believe how much leg/footroom there was on those old twin-prop birds. You could just about play handball in there.
posted by alumshubby at 11:11 AM on April 30, 2002

Reclining seats really suck if you're trying to use a laptop... :P
posted by Foosnark at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2002

My proposal is to drug everyone before the flight and then just ship them as pressurised freight.

Think about it. No airline food, no crying babies, no rude flight attendants, no having to listen to crashing bores that you happen to be seated next to or idiots screaming as your plan spirals down from thirty thousand feet into the Atlantic due to mechanical failure.

Works for me.
posted by mark13 at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2002

mark13, great idea in theory but lame in practice. You either diaper all your passengers and hose them off at destination, or catheter/colostomy bag them. Trust me, cramped seating doesn't even compare to the screaming white-hot agony of catheterization.
posted by johnnyace at 3:33 AM on May 1, 2002

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