Jet [Black and] Blue: Airlines Moves To Further Reduce Legroom In Coach

You have probably been reading the torrent of criticism over the lack of legroom on U.S. airlines and how many people are simply choosing not to fly given the punishing nature of air travel today. JetBlue and WestJet have responded with decisions to cut legroom even more on their flights.

As someone who is six feet, it is now painful to sit in a coach seat as you get kneecapped when someone throws back their seat. It is virtually impossible to use most computers on the flights. Airlines are converting air travel to virtual human cattle cars and now JetBlue and WestJet want to set their own new low in the treatment of passengers. Of course, other airlines are moving to get approval for planes that require passengers to stand like kindling wood to add more human cargo.

What is so disappointing is that some of us flew JetBlue because of its commitment to legroom and the claim of having the most legroom for coach of American carriers. It will now slash another inch from the leg room and reduce the space to 32 inches. While crushing passengers, it will bring in $150 million in additional revenue

What is now truly disgraceful is that airlines charge for seats with comfortable legroom. Indeed, by turning most seats into little more than hamster-sized cages, the airlines are forcing travelers to fork over more money to simply be able to sit comfortably or use a computer. The assumption that travel should be comfortable is being eradicated. Yet, while airlines treat passengers like cattle, Congress continues to cut legislative deals for this powerful lobby in a host of different ways.

The move by the airlines is a disgrace. It is another reason why I now work hard to avoid taking flights — either driving or taking a train whenever possible. The time it takes to get through security and the hostile attitude of air carriers in the United States has made air travel into a soul-crushing, knee-shattering experience.

Source: CNN

50 thoughts on “Jet [Black and] Blue: Airlines Moves To Further Reduce Legroom In Coach”

  1. I haven’t flown since all the security changes caused by September 11. My wife and I drive cross-country to visit our kids and grandkids in CT, NC, MN, and TX. We drive 500 miles per day, staying at reserved motels. We stop at restaurants other than chains from our own area. We often include a sightseeing day along the trip. We find that motels give discounts for government employees, retired government employees, military members, retired military, AARP members, people over 65, and people who reserve in advance by Internet. We make the trip part of the vacation.

  2. Kraaken, Yes the trip from Anchorage to Denali is beautiful. I did a car trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks. No stop at Denali though.

  3. Otteray, Rafflaw, I don’t remember if I posted this link on the blog before, but I mentioned one time previously where I had the opportunity to fly in a B17 Flying Fortress 27 years ago, and did not do it; regretting it ever since. Well I finally did a few weeks ago.

    Now this is LEG ROOM and a VIEW.

  4. No raff, you do not need math to operate the controls and fly around the field locally. But if you want to go to strange airports and not get lost, you need get pretty good with navigation, which means learning to work the “whiz wheel.”

  5. As I said, there is only one best seat in the house. Up front, on the left. My daughter has not forgiven me for selling my twin engine plane, “…to that drunk who wrecked it.” Story is here:

    Somebody got a video of me taking off from the Monroe, LA Regional Airport. It was a hot day and I had a heavy load, and I was beginning to think I was going to run out of runway before I got it off the ground. I know this is me because I was in and out of Monroe a lot, and this is an old video before digital. That was my paint scheme, which was rare on an unusual airplane which is also rare. Cessna did not make very many of them. It is probably the nosiest light twin there is. But anyway, economics was the reason for selling it, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t miss it. Especially when I want to go somewhere more than three hours drive away.

    If I ever win the lottery, I am buying another one.

  6. My bride and I were on a flight from Miami to Chicago and were crammed into this coach seating and the meal was served. Well, I start saying the short prayer and the Capt comes in on the intercom and rants about the fine weather in Chicago. He shuts up and I get back to the prayer and then the stewardess stops and has to get something out of the overhead right over my head. Then the guy in the window seat has to get up to go to the toilet. Then the fasten your seat belt sign comes on and we start rocking and a rolling. Then the fat guy going by me to go to the toilet falls and crushes my meal tray into my lap. So we gave up eating anything. Then the seat in front of me collapses backwards and crushes my legs. Then the Capt says that its snowing in Chicago and we have to go to some other airport. Then fat guy wants the window seat but the seat on my lap wont go up anymore cause the guy in front broke it. Then the bride got sick and puked on the empty window seat and fat guy was standing there and the Capt said on the intercom that we were in for some more rough ride.
    That was in 1990. We have driven from Miami to Chicago each year since then and never flown again.

  7. Ni’ck,

    Re: Keeping the stormtroopers busy…

    Now why can’t you be that funny all the time?

  8. JetBlue isn’t adding rows of seats, it is creating more extra-legroom options for those who continue to demand it by adjusting the way space is laid out on the existing rows in the plane. On the E190’s, JetBlue is doubling the number of extra legroom seats from 8 to 16, and going from 42 to 54 on the Airbus planes.

    JetBlue is keeping minimum seat pitch at 32″, which is still 2″ more than the standard configurations on some planes flown by Delta and United. For taller flyers, or those who use a large laptop, or just those that prefer more space, JetBlue has the most reasonably priced and increasingly available options.

    To get an exit row seat on Virgin America, you can safely double the cost of a coach ticket. JetBlue charges $20 to $60 depending on the length of the flight. This move makes sense for passengers and the airline both. I’m not sure what the outrage is about.

  9. “If labor costs due to unions weren’t so incredibly outrageous there wouldn’t be a need for this.”

    What I liked to see in an airline: the PIC to have a bit of grey hair, the FO to not. Flight attendants who aren’t just out of hs. I don’t begrudge any of them, including the mechanics, the kind of wages and benefits that they can get from the airline. These folks are worth every penny that they get. And only a union can do it. I also think the baggage handlers need to make enough that they don’t have to rummage thru the baggage looking for items to hock.

    The big mistake, when ATC went out on strike, is that the pilots didn’t refuse to cross their picket lines. The unions needed to stand together. The pilots could easily have made the case that it wasn’t safe to fly with only management in the towers directing traffic.

  10. bettykath: You’re so right. I used to LOVE to fly, but I’m not a big fan of being groped by the TSA. One of the most enjoyable trips I ever took was from Anchorage to Denali via train. Three hours and I loved every minute of it. I would be happy to take the train, however, the train doesn’t stop in Phoenix anymore and the places I want to travel aren’t served by train, so i’m stuck with the airlines. 🙁

  11. OS,

    Standard big business tactic.


    Does FTC come in here anywhere. Who regulates the airline vv fair pracices? No one?


    Ultimete barebones flight.

    At night in C-4 over the hump of the SW. In a bucket seat at 14,000 feet and no oxygen. “Don’t move around or you will puke”, was the advice. I sat there, deafened by the roar in the unisolated fuselage (can’t call it a cabin).
    No heat either. But it was free and fast.

  12. JetBlue created a positive buzz about 10 years ago but hasn’t lived up to it in a long time. I was stuck at Logan last year with lots of misinformation. The “good old days” of flying went away ages ago. Degrulation had broad support that included ralph Nader.

  13. The real culprit was Ronnie Raygun and his handlers who deregulated the airlines. When the air fares were set by regulators, the big motivator for snagging business was better service and accommodations. Once the prices were allowed to “float” then the carriers milked it for all it was worth. They undercut prices for the small startups. I have a friend who started a very small regional airline. He direct-connected small cities in the deep south that had no scheduled airline service without going through Dallas or Atlanta. He told me that the first thing that happened to him was that one of the big airlines started flying the same routes and no matter how low he set his fares, they undercut him. He ended up having to shut down the company. As soon as he closed his company and sold his airplanes, the big airline abandoned the routes. His was not an isolated story.

  14. JT >”now JetBlue and WestJet want to set their own new low in the treatment of passengers.”<

    Actually, as bad as JetBlue might be, they STILL have a long way to fall to be the equal of RyanAir.

  15. Jeff wanted his own Concorde. NYC to Dulles in 10 minutes. Add 55 minutes in the taxi list and in the stack at the other end; and the train would have been faster.

    But what fuel consumption, noise, and the applause when you get out to cheers from all the sevice personnel you feed.

    Grateful for you tidbits.

  16. Jeff, Start digging a trench, the progressive storm troopers are assembling. I’ll try to keep them distracted on other threads but they have scouts.

  17. If people were willing to pay a reasonable price for airfare there wouldn’t be the need to cut corners like this. If labor costs due to unions weren’t so incredibly outrageous there wouldn’t be a need for this. Plus you have huge fuel bills and more.

    Businesses have to be profitable. There is an old saying we are all familiar with. Fast, Cheap and Good—pick two”. Same goes here.
    You can’t pay super-deluxe salary and benefits even to non-skilled employees, offer luxurious amenities and rock bottom prices. You can get 2 out of 3

  18. I flew Soviet crown jewel Aeroflot around 1984 from Amsterdam to Moscow and from Leningrad to Helsinki. Essentially a cargo jet with seats and a throw rug for carpeting. Cigar Smokers welcome. Landings were hard and bone jarring. Not a lot of confidence in airworthiness either.

    Despite all this, plenty of leg room, even a convenient foot rest one could pull down.

    At least Aeroflot knew the value of having rested and healthy legs, you might eventually have to run for your life.

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