Now Passengers Are Advised To Bring Your Own Seat? Airlines to Move To “Bench Seating”

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 6.50.30 AMThrough the years, I have written stories criticizing the airline industry for its nosedive in customer services and accommodations. (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). It now turns out that airlines are moving to make flights even more uncomfortably with “bench seating” that will allow them to stuff more passengers into a cabin. While this is better than the “standing only” sections of RyanAir, it is yet another example of how passengers are now being treated as little more than bleating sheep by airline executives who have already reduced space so that you cannot open a computer or risk knee capping.

The new seats are described in the article below as “‘park bench’ airline seats that have much thinner padding that previous models (they’re as hard as sitting on a park bench in other words—although I’ve likened them to a church pew in the past posts). And because they’re thinner, the airlines figure they can move rows of them closer together, which means more seats per plane.” The seats are also shorter so that you are sitting on a ledge that ends on the middle of an average person’s thighs. On long flights, it will add to the already growing discomfort on these flying cattle cars of coach. With more passengers, there will also be less room overhead and longer lines at bathrooms.

The suggestions for travelers, including dividing flights into multiple flights to avoid the pain of sitting in these benches for long periods. Thus we now have to spend hours more in flight to deal with punishing conditions on airplanes. However, my favorite is “bring your own seat cushion” which you can bring on with neck pillows like ones sold by Tempur-Pedic that is 16 x 16 x 2 inches.

Of course, there is also the suggestion (clearly preferred by the airlines) to upgrade. First class is now what coach used to be and coach is now what baggage holds used to be on American airlines.

43 thoughts on “Now Passengers Are Advised To Bring Your Own Seat? Airlines to Move To “Bench Seating””

  1. After you take off your shoes and bend over for the proctologist, the airline industry still does not live up to its promise of offering ‘adventure’ – it should, I should be able to get out of the office on Friday, and, on a whim, fly anywhere for the weekend. Of course, I could, but that would cost thousands of dollars. Its a shame, flying is the last thing I want to do.

  2. They will probably charge to bring the seat cushion as it’s an extra carry-on item.

  3. The idea that airlines offer little more than municipal bus service is completely bogus, and is not the attitude the airlines take towards their business and first class passengers. Airlines treat economy passengers badly because they can, and because there are no regulations protecting economy passengers from such tactics.

    Passengers never demanded, either through government or their pocketbooks, uncomfortable seats, indifferent or abusive service, lost and/or damaged luggage, or an endless string of “fees” for services that used to be free. What passengers and the public have demanded has been safety, professional service, and good management.

    Poor management has changed airline travel from something that used to be enjoyed into something that must be endured.

    1. Douglas – I would rather drive than fly and I own a nice roomy van designed to travel long distances. Last time I flew it was because of a time constraint. This next time will not be the same. If I fly, I cannot stop at places like Wall Drug in Wall, SD. and have 5 cent coffee. I am, as my brother likes to say ‘a culture vulture’ and like to stop at historical sites, museums, etc. that interest me as I am driving along.

  4. rafflaw:

    I’ve never been on a bullet train, but I agree that high-speed rail should have been well on the road toward development by now in this country.

  5. Mike,
    The most comfortable ride I ever had was on a bullet train going from Madrid to Seville. If we had those in the States, we wouldn’t need many of the regional airlines.

  6. I specifically recall predictions from 50 years ago that we would all be flying about in our own personal air cars by this point. What’s up with that?

    Airline travel has become increasingly uncomfortable and airports increasingly stressful. Bus travel is slower, but at least a bus stops periodically and you are able to disembark and stretch.

    The roomiest, most comfortable seating I have ever experienced is on Amtrak.

    1. Mike – Phoenix lost Amtrak. Although I do love train travel and ride trains whenever I get a chance when I am on vacation.

      The train to LA was great. You could sleep and it got there when you woke up. Same on the way back. Crossed the desert at night so you reached Phoenix about 7 am.

  7. Hardly ANY rats. Must admit you returned home from Italy but I did not. I was reading avidly but now have missed some gems. As a former airline-ier and relatively new fan I look forward to reading your other assessments of the waning flight world genteelness. I have only flown privately since the troubles so post sept 11 policies would likely jar me.

  8. Are thier fares cheaper than others? If the fare is half the cost of a similar fare, for a short flight without kids I could see myself going for the ‘park bench’ to save a few bucks. If you don’t like it, then drive or dont fly! Or pay more a better experience. Why is having more choices (cost, service, etc) on how you can fly bad thing? Especially if it means more affordable options so that more people from different economical backgrounds can fly. (so long as it is a comfort issue, not a safety issue)

  9. calypsofacto:Still, a lot of passengers in business and 1st class have used their frequent flier miles to get there or they´ve been upgraded by the airline. Others are airline employees or their families. And then you have the credit card reward people. Heck, even I was upgraded to business last time I flew.

  10. With the additional inconvenience of security lines, flying has become an elite sport, too costly and physically demanding for many Americans, especially seniors and persons with disabilities. My friends and I have reacted by driving instead of flying, or just staying home.

  11. I don’t fly cattle car. Back problems make it agony. My husband is a Platinum American Airlines customer. Occasionally we get upgraded to 1st class from business. Our travel together is a treat. We just decided business class was a part of any vacation plan. I flew, with a friend, to Paris from LA, 14hours, Delta business class. Got off the plane, got to Paris, out to lunch and shopping. Can’t do that from coach! I haven’t seen any decline in business on AA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a chicken or two in coach these days. Coach won’t change until people stop flying it!

  12. Business and first class are FULL of business people every time I fly, Riesling. Apparently there are LOTS of bosses like that still around.

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