jetfuel
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World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:20 pm

I have been thinking about this for a long while. I have wondered if the World Health Organisation shouldn't be mandating minimum seat standards for airline seating, based on the range of various airliners.

This whole debate is a little misguied as the all so common dimension of seat pitch seems to be the focus of many people's thoughts. The problem with seat pitch is that the distance between you and the seat in front of you depends on how thick the seat back is. A 34" seat pitch is worse than a 30" pitch if the 34" pitch seat is 4.5" thicker.  hissyfit  What has happened in recent times is that seat backs have become thinner (well for airlines that have newer seats maybe)

Secondly, the issue of seat width comes into play which is further complicated by armrest dimensions/intrusions

Thirdly, there is the issue of seat recline. Sure some first class cabins have 180 degree recline, but how far does the seat you are going to be in for 22 hours recline? (And how far does the seat in front of you dent your face when the passenger pushes it back)

Fourthly, and this is a more recent problem I have encountered, is there any where to rest your feet with either a foot rest or clear foot space under the seat in front of you. Some of the underseat IFE boxes basically destroy any foot space that existed.

Try calling your airline and asking the above four questions.


Airbus denies standing room 'seats' but there has been enough talking about Economy Ticket's buying just a Place to Stand that I fear passsengers are going to squeezed further and further.

Sure I dont mind a tight squeeze from London to Paris or LAX to Las Vegas, but Brisbane to LAX is an entirely different thing.

If the World Health Organisation was to publish a recommended airline seat criteria, that was obvioulsy not a legal requirement, airlines would face serious litigation for not complying in actions brought against them for DVT and the like.

For Example, maybe the criteria could be put into categories  scratchchin 

Short Range Flights (Under 3 hours)

Long Range Flights (Over 3 hours)




The UK regulation sets the minimum distance of 26" between seats,. I am not sure what else is mandated in any other regulations - as far as I know nothing! Its amasing we have standards for airline safety, but no standards for preserving a passengers sanity, back posture, general health or comfort when it comes to seating! Just maybe the standing room tickets would be legal  stirthepot 
Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
 
ASFlyer
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World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:25 am

If people were willing to pay more than rock bottom, basement fares then airlines wouldn't need to look for more ways to squeeze more people onto a plane to make money.
 
DLPMMM
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World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:00 am

Just what we need, a bunch of international bureaucrats with no idea about the airline industry creating arbitrary standards with no enforcement mechanism.  no 
 
halls120
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World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:31 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 2):
Just what we need, a bunch of international bureaucrats with no idea about the airline industry creating arbitrary standards with no enforcement mechanism.

 checkmark  checkmark  checkmark 
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
skibum9
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:20 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 2):
Just what we need, a bunch of international bureaucrats with no idea about the airline industry creating arbitrary standards with no enforcement mechanism.

They do it now for things like emissions and noise!
Tailwinds!!!
 
DLPMMM
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:30 am

Quoting Skibum9 (Reply 4):
They do it now for things like emissions and noise!

The World Health Organization does? That is news to me!
 
skibum9
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:15 pm

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 5):
The World Health Organization does? That is news to me!

Not the WHO, but other "international bureaucrats" as you said.
Tailwinds!!!
 
jetfuel
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:01 pm

Let me ask another question?

Are you happy that airlines continue to quote seat pitch as the all important seat room factor? (as does places like seat guru etc) - baring in mind seat pitch means nothing without knowing the seat thickness

Would you rather not see a more realistic comparison such as, the distance between the back of the seat to the front of the seat cushion in the seat behind?

I reiterate Airline A's 34" seat pitch is worse than Airline B's 30" pitch if the 34" pitch seat is 4.5" thicker
Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
 
pacifica
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:05 pm

Quoting Jetfuel (Reply 7):
Are you happy that airlines continue to quote seat pitch as the all important seat room factor? (as does places like seat guru etc) - baring in mind seat pitch means nothing without knowing the seat thickness

Would you rather not see a more realistic comparison such as, the distance between the back of the seat to the front of the seat cushion in the seat behind?

One thing though is that in general, there really are only two types of seat thicknesses in economy. The traditional style with more padding (usually around what maybe 6" thick?) and the new slim line design (usually around 3" thick?). And for us aviation geeks who really care about that added seat pitch on airline XYZ and would pay an extra $50 for it, rather than just 'normal people' who buy based on price, we can usually find the types of seats used either on the web or here on a.net. Just a thought, because in a world where price has become king for many travellers, nobody really cares is airline XYZ offers 2" more leg room than airline ABC.
 
avt007
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:28 am

Quoting Jetfuel (Thread starter):
Sure I dont mind a tight squeeze from London to Paris or LAX to Las Vegas, but Brisbane to LAX is an entirely different thing.

Then you as a consumer can have a direct say in the matter, and don't buy a ticket for a seat with poor room. Buy a J class, or go to another airline, and email the others explaining why. I've said it before, and I'll say it again- passengers are getting exactly what they asked for from the airlines. The cheapest possible seat, meals and comfort be damned. This isn't the airlines driving this, it's the customers demanding it, every time they buy a cheap seat. Don't ask others to regulate the industry, do it yourself by not supporting the new business model.
 
N1120A
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:58 am

Quoting Jetfuel (Thread starter):
I have wondered if the World Health Organisation shouldn't be mandating minimum seat standards for airline seating, based on the range of various airliners.

No. Using market economy, access to the world has become much less expensive for the average person and airlines have made a whole bundle of money when they have stuck to a legitimate business plan. Market economy should also determine what airlines set as their seating standards. While there are certain basic standards that should be met, one can get DVT flying in business and first class almost as easily as they can get it in economy. You just aren't supposed to be stationary for an ultra-prolonged period of time, particularly in the ambient conditions on an aircraft that aren't going to change if you add a couple more inches of pitch.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
ANother
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:21 am

I don't believe that the WHO has said that seat-pitch is the problem. Their recent report concerned any mode of transport where the passenger is seated for 4 hours, or more. Having 96" in F doesn't make a difference, if the passenger is seated upright and immobile for 4 hours.

There used to be an international organisation that regulated this stuff, at least for the network airlines. However governments no longer want IATA to do this on their behalf.
 
spacecadet
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:22 am

Quoting ASFlyer (Reply 1):
If people were willing to pay more than rock bottom, basement fares then airlines wouldn't need to look for more ways to squeeze more people onto a plane to make money.

As has been pointed out in other threads, several airlines (ANA and JAL among them) have actually decreased the number of seats on some airplanes in order to increase revenue. It goes against CW around here, but the airlines that have tried it seem to be having success by replacing smaller, cheaper seats with larger, more expensive seats. People do pay for the larger, more expensive seats.

I think it's wrong to assume that the only way for airlines to make money is to cram as many people onto a plane as possible. The best way for an airline to make money is in fact the opposite - to attract passengers willing to pay a premium. The question is how to do that. But some airlines do seem to have figured out a working formula.

Of course, that's not what this thread is about. This thread is about minimum standards for those buying the cheapest seats. And I do think such standards should probably exist, just as they do for most other things that are potential health hazards. When you're talking about DVT, which is statistically more prevalent among economy class passengers than those in other classes (though it does happen in every class), it's not just a comfort issue.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:22 am

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 9):
Then you as a consumer can have a direct say in the matter, and don't buy a ticket for a seat with poor room. Buy a J class, or go to another airline, and email the others explaining why. I've said it before, and I'll say it again- passengers are getting exactly what they asked for from the airlines. The cheapest possible seat, meals and comfort be damned. This isn't the airlines driving this, it's the customers demanding it, every time they buy a cheap seat. Don't ask others to regulate the industry, do it yourself by not supporting the new business model.

OK, can you describe exactly how the average passenger, who is not a airline enthusiast nor has the online tools to do advanced booking, can easilly book an upgraded class flight without having to pay more than twice the cost of what that coach ticket will cost them (none of this "above full coach", that's not what they pay)? The fact is that any upgraded tickets on almost any airlines ends up costing well over two or three times the cost of their coach seat. People don't want the extra super luxuries, and certainly can't afford them. Most people have no idea how to book anything other than coach airfare anyways, a good portion of them probably don't know much more than there is coach and first. Ideally, yes you would just put your business to who does offer a better product. Except that no one is offering that product - too many industry insiders claim people only buy by price without any real foundation for those claims. So until you can easilly and offer a better alternative, these people don't have one.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
andz
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:32 am

Quoting Jetfuel (Thread starter):
A 34" seat pitch is worse than a 30" pitch if the 34" pitch seat is 4.5" thicker.

I thought the pitch was measured from a point in one row to the same point in the next row, so the thickness of the seat back is immaterial.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
EYKD
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:00 pm

Quoting Andz (Reply 14):
I thought the pitch was measured from a point in one row to the same point in the next row, so the thickness of the seat back is immaterial.

You're actually right. The thickness doesn't play role in pitch calculation. But thickness of your seat is important for you since it steals room for your body. Follow this link for quick explanation http://www.uk-air.net/seatpitch.htm
 
Lufthansa747
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:47 pm

Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 13):
OK, can you describe exactly how the average passenger, who is not a airline enthusiast nor has the online tools to do advanced booking, can easilly book an upgraded class flight without having to pay more than twice the cost of what that coach ticket will cost them (none of this "above full coach", that's not what they pay)?

I can. People who want comfort don't care about cost.

Don't like cramped monkey class? A simple transaction of inputting your credit card number online will buy something better. Quite as simple as that, 2-30x the cost, you're paying for something entirely different, like comparing apples to oranges.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
skyhigh
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:45 pm

I was going to start my own thread but I might just sneak my whinge into this one instead.

What is happening to the width of economy class seats? Like already mentioned, the older aircraft tend to have the very comfortable seats that actually offer some padding and comfort. No AVOD, but no sore back and bum after a 14 hour flight.
I flew CA LHR-SYD in 2000 and the economy seats offered as much comfort as some business class seats on other airlines.
These days the seats are getting thinner and thinner and offer very little padding. I have to say that the worst culprit that I have flown recently has been VS LHR-SYD.
Airlines are actually trying to convince us that the thinner seats are for our greater comfort. Just how much thinner can they go?
 
Lufthansa747
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:12 pm

Quoting Skyhigh (Reply 17):
What is happening to the width of economy class seats?

Cost cutting. Airlines don't care about monkey class comfort and pax only care about price.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:14 pm

There was a guy that did an ergonomics report on this. The optimum seat is 17-18" in width, has a 34" pitch with a 4" seat back and 4-6" of recline. Naturally, we're lucky to see the seat width. The rest is usually 31-32" and 2-3" recline.
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sun Jul 08, 2007 12:12 am

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 16):

I can. People who want comfort don't care about cost.

I think you are quite wrong on that. Where does this assumption (and it seems prevalent throughout the industry) come from? People value comfort. They just can't afford to spend triple their ticket price for a first class seat. People only really need a few more inches in leg room, and a couple more inches in width, and maybe a little more seat comfort. They don't necessarily need or want linen meal service, yards of legroom or fancy electric recline. That's overboard. But since practically no airlines offer anything in between, they have no choice. That's NOT a proven issue, in fact the success of airlines like Jet Blue and economy plus classes prove that point.

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 19):
There was a guy that did an ergonomics report on this. The optimum seat is 17-18" in width, has a 34" pitch with a 4" seat back and 4-6" of recline. Naturally, we're lucky to see the seat width. The rest is usually 31-32" and 2-3" recline.

Really? Now THAT's a report I would love to see. Sounds a little suspicious to me.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
avt007
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sun Jul 08, 2007 12:44 am

Cloudboy- As an experiment, I visited 3 airlines websites, and immediately found details on seat pitch, width, configuration, meals, etc. If a pax wants to compare econo class between two airlines (and that's what I'm talking about here), it's easy.
No computer? Ask the travel agaent. Or call the airline direct. Personally, if it's one hour, the service and seats don't matter. But 4-5 hours, or transoceanic, it becomes a big deal. But the consumer easily has the ability to look beyond the ticket price, only I don't think most do.
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:53 am

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 21):
Cloudboy- As an experiment, I visited 3 airlines websites, and immediately found details on seat pitch, width, configuration, meals, etc. If a pax wants to compare econo class between two airlines (and that's what I'm talking about here), it's easy.
No computer? Ask the travel agaent. Or call the airline direct. Personally, if it's one hour, the service and seats don't matter. But 4-5 hours, or transoceanic, it becomes a big deal. But the consumer easily has the ability to look beyond the ticket price, only I don't think most do.

So then tell me, who offers a wider seat? There's only one airline in the US that does in coach, and that is Midwest. But the fact is few people even look at an airline's website - this has been the one thing haunting JetBlue. Most people book through gateways, which don't really show any of that information, nor make it easily accessible for someone who knows absolutely nothing about airlines or cabins to make a choice.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
2175301
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:07 am

Quoting Jetfuel (Thread starter):
For Example, maybe the criteria could be put into categories

Short Range Flights (Under 3 hours)

Long Range Flights (Over 3 hours)

Should flight delays be added to that? While the 6 Hour + delays with people sitting in the airplane are rare.... and extra hour or so is a lot more common.

Not sure how to explain it; but one of my recent flights went something like this....

Full aircraft gets loaded a bit early - and departs gate about 5 minutes early.... Everyone is all smiles.

We sit in taxiways for about 45 minutes such that we actually take off about 1/2 hour behind schedule... Many people are frowning as the weather is really great and Portland is not that busy.

Actual flight time to Minneapolis is better than expected and we land smoothly without any delays... Everyone is all smiles....

We then sit on taxi ways for a while, then taxi what must have been almost all around the airport (if not totally around the airport), and get to a gate about 45 minutes after the plane landed. The weather is great... Many people are frowning.

All told the plane arrived at that Minneapolis gate about an hour behind schedule. Good thing I had planned two hours between my connection as I wanted to meet someone in Minneapolis. Given the circumstances we never met as I didn't think there was time for me to exit the secure area and reenter again.

No one ever explained what the holdup was on takeoff nor on getting to a gate after landing.

I've marked this down as one of my "strange" flights.

Back to topic; if there are going to standards on time of flight and personal space... should that be based on time on aircraft and not flight?
 
KLAM
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:52 am

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 18):
Cost cutting. Airlines don't care about monkey class comfort and pax only care about price.



Quoting Avt007 (Reply 21):
But 4-5 hours, or transoceanic, it becomes a big deal. But the consumer easily has the ability to look beyond the ticket price, only I don't think most do.

Hi there, I am quite new in this forum, but have been watching it for long, I enjoy reading it a lot.
I think I have a very strong opinion on this matter, and while what you say is true, there is indeed another side. From my personal experience, I have always loved to travel and get to know other places, and I would love to travel in comfort and luxury, nevertheless, I can barely afford to buy a deeply discounted economy ticket. If I had the money I would pay for business or even first, but the truth is I wish I could afford a premium economy ticket.
As a matter of fact I do look beyond the price, but certainly I do not produce 50 dollar bills everytime I go to the bathroom, and it is hard for me to get money, so it is either flying business or staying in a clean decent hotel.

Another thing is that Economy Class tickets are not particularly cheap either, the cheapest you can get a MEX - Europe with a three to six month anticipation is @ 850 USD, and since it is not always possible to book in such advance as agendas change so much, many people book with an anticipation bewteen one up to four months, and by then you can get your "shit price-shit deserving ticket" in 1200 USD (the lowest). 1200 USD is not cheap, specially for what you get: In BA you get your 31" pitch extra padded seat that eats some of those 31", say 4", so now you have something like 27", you get the footrest that whenever the seat in front of you reclines, it buries in your legs and hurts and a personal TV that is about the only good thing . I don't care about the food, for it is randomly good, and the goodies they give you are nonsense.

It is a pity airlines only invest in their Business and First classes, and cuts economy, as I said before I would pay J or F or their discounted versions if I had the money, and if you guys state that the real money is in the expensive classes, then I don't see why airlines don't invest a little in Y. A year ago I took a MEX-AMS flight and it was amazing, no PTV, no headrest, food was not gourmet, but I had enough legroom, no box underneath, seats were wide enough, it was 744 Combi "City of Seoul", which still had the old seats, and I ask myself why don't airlines return to that?
I also did MEX-EZE-MEX in Mexicana and it was wonderful, there was 36" pitch in Economy class, no PTV's or other sophisticated spacelooking seats and devices, but it was by far the most comfortable Y class ever, and believe me, they do win a lot of money in those routes. THE FACT WE ARE FLYING ECONOMY DOESN'T MEAN WE ARE FLYING FOR FREE, we did pay, and payed what would be a good amount, so I guess we deserve a bit better.

By the way, I don't think First class is worth seven times the Y full fare.


Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 20):
I think you are quite wrong on that. Where does this assumption (and it seems prevalent throughout the industry) come from? People value comfort. They just can't afford to spend triple their ticket price for a first class seat. People only really need a few more inches in leg room, and a couple more inches in width, and maybe a little more seat comfort. They don't necessarily need or want linen meal service, yards of legroom or fancy electric recline. That's overboard. But since practically no airlines offer anything in between, they have no choice. That's NOT a proven issue, in fact the success of airlines like Jet Blue and economy plus classes prove that point

I completely agree with what you say, I don't know why people get heated and haughty when this topic is discussed, it is for the good of everybody, I mean if there was a company with a really good economy class (not eco +) these people would think twice in paying business or first and would save some really good dollars, and if they don't want to, they will still get their magnificent service, space and food, so why they care so much about airlines being a bit more generous to Y passengers?

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 16):
can. People who want comfort don't care about cost.

Don't like cramped monkey class? A simple transaction of inputting your credit card number online will buy something better. Quite as simple as that, 2-30x the cost, you're paying for something entirely different, like comparing apples to oranges.

So basically the Airlines' revenge on people who are cheapos or cannot afford higher costs is crowding them into a small seat? Did you know that coach cabins are completely unsanitary places? there is a bit more than 9 people crowded in a bit less than 4 squarred meters giving a ratio of @ 2.5 people / squarred meter, that is, too many people close from each other, if somebody is sick with an infectious disease, you are likely to get it as well (not to mention people with a poor personal hygiene), plus due to pressure, humidity and temperature conditions, inmune system is somehow depressed, adding to this the fact that the lack of sleep and poor blood circulation might worsen it, additionally some germs are stuck in due to air circulation, so DVT is not the only issue we should worry about while flying coach (yeah F and J payers might get it as well, but they have a lower risk because of space and movility opportunity), so I don't see why there is no regulation to add a little tiny bit of comfort to coach flyers.

Regards,

KL-AM
flyOM
 
avt007
Posts: 1989
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:24 pm

OK, I'll try again. Airline A offers decent pitch, hot meal service on china plates, and free drinks in economy class. (The way it was in Canada years ago). Airline B comes along and offers a shorter pitch, and the same service, for a lower price. The majority of travellers abandon Airline A because they can save $50 by flying Airline B. Airline A has to do something, so they drop their fares, and cut costs by charging for the drinks, and going to cheaper meals, on styrofoam. Again, the consumer flips airlines and goes where the fare is lowest. Airline B has to be competitive, so they offer really cheap flights with small seats, no food, no free drinks, and they charge for pillows, seat assignment, pretty much everything. Think Southwest, Westjet. People again, flock to the low fares. The consumer has driven the level of service and comfort down, NOT the airlines!!! It is not some big conspiracy driven by the airlines to get "revenge" on their customers. How can you run a business by intentionally upsetting your customers. No, the airlines are giving people exactly what they asked for- a dirt cheap fare from A to B. So when you get it, don't go whining about how about how crappy it is. By buying the cheapest fare out there you have done your part to ensure continued cost cutting and lower levels of service by the airlines. I know often people have a hard time affording airfare. But what really gets me is that folks don't understand that it is the customer driving the industry, not the other way around.

[Edited 2007-07-09 11:29:59]
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:40 pm

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 25):
OK, I'll try again. Airline A offers decent pitch, hot meal service on china plates, and free drinks in economy class. (The way it was in Canada years ago). Airline B comes along and offers a shorter pitch, and the same service, for a lower price. The majority of travellers abandon Airline A because they can save $50 by flying Airline B. Airline A has to do something, so they drop their fares, and cut costs by charging for the drinks, and going to cheaper meals, on styrofoam. Again, the consumer flips airlines and goes where the fare is lowest. Airline B has to be competitive, so they offer really cheap flights with small seats, no food, no free drinks, and they charge for pillows, seat assignment, pretty much everything. Think Southwest, Westjet. People again, flock to the low fares. The consumer has driven the level of service and comfort down, NOT the airlines!!! It is not some big conspiracy driven by the airlines to get "revenge" on their customers. How can you run a business by intentionally upsetting your customers. No, the airlines are giving people exactly what they asked for- a dirt cheap fare from A to B. So when you get it, don't go whining about how about how crappy it is. By buying the cheapest fare out there you have done your part to ensure continued cost cutting and lower levels of service by the airlines. I know often people have a hard time affording airfare. But what really gets me is that folks don't understand that it is the customer driving the industry, not the other way around.

No, People aren't going to suddenly up and abandon airline A simply because of $50. They abandon airline A because airline B offers not only the same service with just a small decrese in leg room (which most people don't know about, by the way), but also because airline A has probably already pissed them off enough that as soon as a viable competitor comes up, they switch. Then, and here is where the huge failure of this process comes about, airline A has suddenly decided already that the only thing it's customers care about is the fare, so they drop their product to match that faare. Now the customer on airline A sees that the product is getting worse, and therefor is now even more motivated to switch.

See, the argument works, only because you have already determined that price leads the way. Here's the other posibility. Airline A sees people switching to airline B. Airline A then decides to promote itself and it's extra legroom. Instead of cutting back service, they try and differentiate their service by improving it and offering a better product. They promote themselves as a better airline, and in turn try to show their competition as a cut rate compromise. Furthermore, they let all the really cheap airfares - the ones that bring in less than they cost, go to the competitor, who then has to make up for that loss. Of course, the other side to this is opearting costs. So Airline A, instead of simply cutting back pay scales, tries to streamline it's operations, in effect spending less on the bureaucratic process.

Of course, this takes a lot more effort and initiativeto do, so in teh real world, Airline A ddecides it's much easier (an, for many managers, a lot more fun) to find ways to cut back in the name of "cost savings" and simply blame this on the customer demanding cheaper airfares.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
DLPMMM
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:55 pm

Sorry Cloudboy, but history shows you are wrong.

The world's largest airline (AA) tried exactly what you are talking about with their MRTC program (More Room Throughout Coach). AA increased the pitch in their Coach Class by a few inches over the industry standard (to 36" IIRC), and did significant advertising about their better leg room. AA had to give it up after about 18 months because the customers were unwilling to pay the extra $10-$50 necessary per seat for AA to be competative.
 
KLAM
Posts: 162
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:22 am

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 25):
Airline B comes along and offers a shorter pitch, and the same service, for a lower price. The majority of travellers abandon Airline A because they can save $50 by flying Airline B. Airline A has to do something, so they drop their fares, and cut costs by charging for the drinks, and going to cheaper meals, on styrofoam. Again, the consumer flips airlines and goes where the fare is lowest. Airline B has to be competitive, so they offer really cheap flights with small seats, no food, no free drinks, and they charge for pillows, seat assignment, pretty much everything.

You are totally right here, I agree completely with you, however, I was talking about Long haul flights (more than 8 hours), in short haul, service has fallen due to the appearance of low costs, but what about long haul? Big Airlines have got no competition from low costs in this routes nowadays, so they can still offer a good product, I mean it is totaly unacceptable the way people travel in coach nowadays, you feel that instead of travelling you are indeed being tranported.
I don't know how cheaper would it be for long haul carriers to trade AVOD for seat pitch, and people who want to have AVOD could rent a DVD...

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 25):
It is not some big conspiracy driven by the airlines to get "revenge" on their customers.

Last time I flew British Airways, the crew really wanted to make clear to us World Traveller passengers how bad we were for not flying WTP, Club World or First, and really wanted that we saw the difference. While boarding a FA asked a lady something about her wanting something (some request made by her), and when the lady was about to reply the FA said, oh no you are not First or Club. We know what we are missing, but they kept reminding it throughout the flight, and it was not publicity, it was like "You want something better, you can pay for a Club or WTP seat-type of comments" when somebody commented on the seat's lack of space. This was on the return flight LHR-MEX, on the MEX-LHR, the plane left a day after and I was in a rush, so I asked to be relocated, and the woman looked at me and said "Sir, if First and Club passengers are not being relocated, how can you expect us to change your flight with World Traveller fare?" Later I talked to the station manager and told him that any economic problems caused by this delay would be dealed by them, so they put me in another flight. Oh and they wouldn't refund me what I payed for baggage excess. Each time we are allowed less baggage in economy.

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 27):
AA had to give it up after about 18 months because the customers were unwilling to pay the extra $10-$50 necessary per seat for AA to be competative.

I would be damn happy to pay even 200 USD for more legroom, however last time I checked for the upgrade price to fly World Traveller Plus, it was 945 euro, for a ticket that cost me 1500 USD, that's almost another ticket!!

I don't normally fly low costs for I try to keep with the big carriers tradition and their connection to the country's history, the only LCC i've flown is Vueling, and their service was really friendly and nice, better than say Alitalia or any American carrier and about the same as IB, and the prices were still cheaper than the prices from legacy carriers even with all the cost cutting meassures, so in short haul, if they are offering the very same thing on a lower price, why not giving them a shot? Long haul is a different story.

KL-AM
flyOM
 
jimbo27L
Posts: 46
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:38 am

Surely the "extra legroom" issue can be solved with Premuim economy style cabins. BA's World traveller + is a god send for me. It surprises me that more airlines dont have this offering - there has to be people out there (like me), 6' 2" who will be inclined to spend a little extra to get the addtitional legroom. OK, BA for example can charge between 0.75 and 1.5 the cheapest economy fare, which I appreciate is not within everyone's budget.

Also, it is up to the AIRLINE to remain innovative to keep customers through marketing - not every battle with LCC's needs to be a lowest price bloodbath - I think this is a pretty short sighted business thinking.

Also not sure this arguement stacks up on long haul routes (where legroom and comfort is needed most) which dont see many LCC's at the moment. However, I believe Oasis provide a decent service and legroom LGW-HKG.

What about this scenario? BA's 772's have 8 across in WT+ and 9 in WT, why not rip a few more rows of WT and replace (albeit) with less WT+ seats. Charge at a slightly lower level than current WT+ but still at least 0.5 times higher than WT?? Less passengers, better comfort, more revenue.
 
DLPMMM
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:57 am

Quoting Jimbo27L (Reply 29):
What about this scenario? BA's 772's have 8 across in WT+ and 9 in WT, why not rip a few more rows of WT and replace (albeit) with less WT+ seats. Charge at a slightly lower level than current WT+ but still at least 0.5 times higher than WT?? Less passengers, better comfort, more revenue.

Because most of the Y pax will just fly on a different airline with a lower price.

People say they will pay more for a little more room in Y in surveys and on web boards, but in practice this strategy has failed miserably. Even on long trips, the Economy pax buy the lower priced tickets regardless of legroom/amenities.
 
enginebird
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:25 am

Quoting Jetfuel (Thread starter):
I have been thinking about this for a long while. I have wondered if the World Health Organisation shouldn't be mandating minimum seat standards for airline seating, based on the range of various airliners.

I started a similar thread a few weeks ago and I am all with you , click here , but back then I got flamed at as "communist", "Marxist" and "probably too big/fat/obese/abnormal in size", as several contributors to this forum claimed that nobody forces you to buy a product you do not want/fit into. Nobody addressed the point that it is often impossible to obtain information on the actual product (i.e. seat width, pitch) at the time of booking and if it is, you are not guaranteed these measurements.
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:56 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 27):
Sorry Cloudboy, but history shows you are wrong.

The world's largest airline (AA) tried exactly what you are talking about with their MRTC program (More Room Throughout Coach). AA increased the pitch in their Coach Class by a few inches over the industry standard (to 36" IIRC), and did significant advertising about their better leg room. AA had to give it up after about 18 months because the customers were unwilling to pay the extra $10-$50 necessary per seat for AA to be competative.

This is a great example of how the problem lies not with what people will spend, but with a preconceived notion that people WON'T spend any more. Yes, American did advertise it. But their advertising was not exactly fantastic - they weren't focusing on attracting new customers but focused on already existing customers. They also only promoted it as more legroom, not more comfort. But the real issue is that they never really gave the exrtra fare an option. People don't buy tickets by asking what the fulkl coach fare is for a flight. They simply ask what is the cheapest ticket available to them. The problem is that American simply couldn't resist matching those cheap fares. It's an epidemic amongst the traditional airlines - they are so ingrained into matching every last discount in order to pull the best ranking in a reservation system that they forget about thinking long term sales totals. They couldn't really accept that someone else appeared to be cheaper.

Of course, you also had another issue with many airlines, and that is the real price isn't what the lowest possible fare is, it's what is the lowest available fare. So they both offer cheaper fares. If DL still had plenty of seats available at a deeply discounted rate, and AA only had seats left in classes that cost a couple of hundred more, the real difference between the ticket costs were a couple of hundred dollars. And for two paper clips worth of leg space, few people were going to double the cost of the ticket.

It's not an easy thing to do, particularly with the way airline book operates now. Which is precisesly why control is needed - since the airlines really can't regulate it themselves.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
avt007
Posts: 1989
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:16 am

Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 32):
They simply ask what is the cheapest ticket available to them.

My point exactly. Moaning and complaining about airlines is practically a national sport here in Canada, and around the world. "I paid $79 for a 2 hour flight that would have taken me 2 days to drive, and I'm not happy because the seat was too small." It's like people complaining about the postal service. For 51 cents, they'll deliver your letter anywhere in Canada, the 2nd largest counrty in the world. If it takes a few days, so what? Waddya want for 51 cents? What do you expect for a flight for $39 or $70, or $99? So what's next? Regulating bus seats? Trains? The hardness of the chairs at McDonalds?
 
GerbenYYZ
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:52 am

RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:12 am

Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 26):
No, People aren't going to suddenly up and abandon airline A simply because of $50. They abandon airline A because airline B offers not only the same service with just a small decrese in leg room (which most people don't know about, by the way), but also because airline A has probably already pissed them off enough that as soon as a viable competitor comes up, they switch. Then, and here is where the huge failure of this process comes about, airline A has suddenly decided already that the only thing it's customers care about is the fare, so they drop their product to match that faare. Now the customer on airline A sees that the product is getting worse, and therefor is now even more motivated to switch.

This is true, however, anytime that I travel for business I have to justify the cost. When flights are searched for and compared, the bottom line goes a long way. Normally I fly Air Canada to collect Aeroplan miles, but if I'm booking a flight YYZ-YEG for example, and WS has a seat sale for $100 less, I would have to explain myself if I didn't choose that. I have my preferences, but as far as finances go, if I can get to YEG for $100 less, hey, it's easy to spend...
 
cloudboy
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:49 am

Quoting GerbenYYZ (Reply 34):
This is true, however, anytime that I travel for business I have to justify the cost. When flights are searched for and compared, the bottom line goes a long way. Normally I fly Air Canada to collect Aeroplan miles, but if I'm booking a flight YYZ-YEG for example, and WS has a seat sale for $100 less, I would have to explain myself if I didn't choose that. I have my preferences, but as far as finances go, if I can get to YEG for $100 less, hey, it's easy to spend...

Right. And that is a big part of the advertising bit. When you are charging $150 for what is essentially two paper clips worth more room to your boss, how do you justify that. The argument can't be - we got more legroom. the argument has to be - it's a better flight. When I get off that plane, that's that much less stress I am going to bring with me to the sales meeting. That's that much more of a chance I can work on the plane because I have enough room to take out my laptop. There's that much less wear I am going to be taking from flying, and I am now that much more likely to show up for work the following day and still be productive.

I think it needs to be a little more than just legroom. It's better width. It's more ergonomic seats. It's better service and more mobility room. That part may not be the government's role to promote. It should be the airlines role to promote that. But in fact conventional airline operations simply don't accept this. Conventional wisdom is that it is only the price that matters. So things go down and down. And it is the government's role to regulate a minimum so that tit does not go down too far.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
GerbenYYZ
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:52 am

RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:35 am

Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 35):
And it is the government's role to regulate a minimum so that tit does not go down too far.

That I completely agree with, else we will end up with standing room only on flights! The problem then becomes, should this be legislated by the government of every country? Can we force all countries to create a level playing field and adopt these minimums, or would every country have their own set of rules? Would these rules then apply to the airlines' home base? Point of departure? Country of destination? There should be an international group to set minimum standards, but what is considered luxury to some, may be unacceptable to others... clearly, there are many issues that are not likely to be resolved anytime in the near future. In the meantime, we will continue to get what we pay for, we will continue to complain that it's not good enough, and there will continue to be unspeakable horrors in other parts of the world that we remain oblivious to, our $179 fare to travel across the country may not have gotten us a meal, but it did get us:

1) the freedom to travel across this free nation
2) the amazing experience of flight
3) the freedom to complain, and not be persecuted for it
4) so so many other liberties that we take for granted, that others will never have the fortune to experience
 
A340600
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RE: World Standards For Seat Pitch/Width/Recline?

Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:32 am

The UK regulation of 26" scares me, has any airline ever actually gone that low? 28" is tough enough but 26" seems unimagineable for someone over 6foot.
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!

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