Through 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.