Through the years flying the ‘friendly skies’ has become a not so flier friendly experience. It seems the airlines are hitting fliers for damn near everything these days. Booking, boarding and fuel fees continue to increase as do charges for inflight services, such as food and beverage and seat selection. Add to this the higher fees for additional luggage and penalty charges for oversized or overweight luggage, and its no wonder the cost of flying is soaring through the roof! Some airlines have even begun charging for carry on luggage! Apparently the skies the limit!
If you’ve ever flown you know that one of the biggest complaints by passenger is cramped seating accommodations and seat comfort. Survey after survey bears this out. Recently airlines were ranked by the World Airlines Awards in a number of flight related areas including seat accommodations. In the seating category 0nly one American airline was ranked in the top ten for ‘best seats’ and were noticeably absent from all other “seat” categories. Apparently comfort isn’t a top priority for Americans top airlines. Besides comfort doesn’t help them make more money.Yes airlines are working harder than ever to increase their bottom line. We all know it’s all about making a profit, comfort and yes, at times even safety be damned! Airlines have hit us with every conceivable fee and charge so what more can they do to increase profits?
Over the last decade most airlines have subtly been making the cramped seating situation of economy class even worse. They have quietly decreased legroom between seats by a couple of inches by changing the pitch of the seats, installing new thinner, lighter seat frames and changed out the thicker seat cushions for much thinner, less comfortable ones. These changes have allowed them to add five to seven more seats per plane which translates into increased profits. Is there anything passengers can do? why of course there is. Airlines have made it possible for us to upgrade and buy up to a seat that overs more legroom. And if you’re over 6 feet tall you may want to do just that.
Now Airlines are taking a long, hard look at an idea that’s been floating around for a few years now and are giving serious consideration to something called ‘vertical seating’. Vertical seating is just that, stand up seating. Plane would have a designated area for stand up seating and passengers would be braced into position. Passengers would spend the flight in the upright position. Vertical seating might be feasible on short flights, but anything longer than an hour or so might be uncomfortable. They would probably work well on Southwest Airlines who have a number of short flight routes. SW is already known as the ‘cattle car’ airlines. With vertical seating they really would be!
Comfort aside, the price for vertical seating tickets would have to be much cheaper than regular seats and would offer those who can’t afford to fly at today’s prices the opportunity to take to the air. Personally, if the price was right, I could see myself buying a budget vertical seat ticket for an Ontario to Las Vegas flight or Ontario to Sacramento, San Jose or San Francisco, but I wouldn’t want to go much further than that. I don’t know, perhaps vertical seating is an idea whose time has finally come.