blink182
Topic Author
Posts: 5272
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 3:09 am

Pax/crew Obesity, Configuration, And Emergencies

Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:43 pm

I've noticed that cabin configuration, most notably 3-4-3 on 777s, and pax obesity routinely come up in the civil aviation forums. Sure, I understand that economy class seating and aisles will never be as comfortable or as wide as what is featured in first and business class. Nevertheless, as airlines try to cram in more pax and pax keep getting bigger, will this affect emergencies at all?

Case in point, if there's a passenger of size who can barely(or can't) comfortably get down the aisle of a 3-4-3 777, what happens when he/she gets stuck during an evacuation? In the aisle, what if the rear exits cannot be used? I can also easily imagine a case where an obese pax is in the middle or aisle seat, gets stuck, and blocks the pax in that seating section from getting out. I fear that inevitably there will be a fatal incident where narrow aisles combined with overly large pax will be blamed for fatalities in what should have been a standard evacuation.

I'm fairly certain that the FAA instituted a minimum aisle width in the 1980s following an accident, but should these rules be revisited given that pax, particularly in the US, are getting increasingly large?
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tdscanuck
Posts: 8572
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Pax/crew Obesity, Configuration, And Emergencies

Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:57 am

Quoting blink182 (Thread starter):
Case in point, if there's a passenger of size who can barely(or can't) comfortably get down the aisle of a 3-4-3 777, what happens when he/she gets stuck during an evacuation?

Turn around and go to the other exit...this is one (of many) scenarios that force current designs to always have two exit paths available for every seat.

Quoting blink182 (Thread starter):
In the aisle, what if the rear exits cannot be used?

Go to the forward one. This is why the evacuation limit test is done with only 50% of the exits available.

Quoting blink182 (Thread starter):
I can also easily imagine a case where an obese pax is in the middle or aisle seat, gets stuck, and blocks the pax in that seating section from getting out.

That's really the only situation where you should actually be stuck but at least it's a relatively short path to climb over the seat ahead/behind. Not optimal, but at least the aisle is pretty close. I think this is the driver for never having more than three seats before you reach an aisle in at least one direction.

Tom.
 
Viscount724
Posts: 18838
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Pax/crew Obesity, Configuration, And Emergencies

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:26 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 1):
Quoting blink182 (Thread starter):
I can also easily imagine a case where an obese pax is in the middle or aisle seat, gets stuck, and blocks the pax in that seating section from getting out.

That's really the only situation where you should actually be stuck but at least it's a relatively short path to climb over the seat ahead/behind. Not optimal, but at least the aisle is pretty close. I think this is the driver for never having more than three seats before you reach an aisle in at least one direction.

It's not just obese passengers. You could also have access to the aisle blocked by a disabled passenger who was boarded in a wheelchair and who can't move without assistance from the crew.

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