I’m not the tallest person to fly, at five foot eleven inches I’m probably in the average category in terms of European and Americans. And yet when I sit in an economy seat on most airlines my knee touches the seat in front. When the person in front leans their seat back, there is a good chance my knee will be touching the metalwork of the seat back and they will be met with a yelp of pain as their action whacks me. Are they wrong? Am I sitting incorrectly? I think there is a third, quite obvious option. Airlines are making the space between seats too small.
Laptops used to be much bigger than they are today, but in the past I used to be able to use mine while flying in economy. Today’s seatback and table configuration are so small as to not allow a modern (smaller) laptop to be used without significant risk of it being crushed if the seat is reclined.
The space in economy is shrinking, each new plane or seat configuration finds ways to shave a couple of inches out of every seat.
The concept of premium economy came about when airlines realized people preferred specific seats. These are just the least crappy seats in economy, and now they charge extra for them.
Passengers fighting over the right to recline vs. having enough space to fully inflate your lungs is missing the point. Airlines are F&*^ing with their basic service to make economy so uncomfortable that passengers will pay extra for what was until very recently no cost options.
Flying is getting less pleasant and more expensive every year. Airlines are going out of their way to make it so.
Next time you’re in a plane and feel like fighting with another passenger over who gets the space, recliner or recline, think instead about blacklisting that particular airline.
When I book airline tickets I have a choice, and I actively choose to avoid certain airlines. It’s easy to do, and the compound effect of every flyer going through this simple equation is huge.