Why Plane Seats Are Always So Small
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Why Plane Seats Are Always So Small

January 27, 2020

Ah—the luxury of air travel! Knees tucked
under your jaw. Feet wedged against the bag you stuffed beneath the seat in front of you.
One elbow in your hip crease. The other fighting your neighbor for space on the arm rest. And
the comforting “thud-thud-thud” of a kid kicking your seatback from the row behind
you. It’s everything you could want — not! But this isn’t a clown car. And I’m a
big guy—with a matching belly! So why are airline seats so dang small?! Well, there is cause for hope that they’ll
soon get bigger. I’ll tell you why in a minute, but for now… If you must get up
to visit the bathroom—everyone else has to swing their knees to the side while you
slither past. And if you still can’t fit, they’ll have to stand up and then Do-se-do
with you in the aisle. You might even have to wake them first. Which takes time so—unless
you can do all this with your legs crossed—plan in advance! It’s enough to make anyone want to spend
their vacation money—money meant for dinners, shows, and souvenirs—on a slightly bigger
seat in First Class! It wasn’t always this way. Maybe you’ve
seen ads for ultra-fancy aircrafts with seats that become beds, hot showers, and cocktail
bars and you thought, “Wow, someday, in the future, when I’m rich, I’ll fly like
that!” But those amenities were normal in the past. Well, not the showers, but as late
as the 1970’s… Traveling First Class on an airplane often meant access—on the plane,
during the flight— to lounges boasting everything from dining areas with tables and table cloths—to
cocktail bars with leopard print seats! And this stuff wasn’t just for the super-rich—or
the moderately rich—American Airline’s Economy Class had a piano bar! OK, the piano was really a small electric
organ, but the airline hired a live piano player to entertain the passengers who stood
around it—or sat, unbelted, on giant ottomans—and sang! To be fair, passengers have changed as much
as airlines. Last week I tried to start a sing-along in my row and my seatmates shushed
me! (Ya Party poopers!) But, while we might complain about how things
have changed for us, that crying baby three rows over? Well, she should be grateful. In
the 1950’s parents could tuck junior into a basket that hung off the side of the overhead
compartment! OK, Baby, I know that five-point harness in
your belted-in baby carrier is frustrating. I hear you crying! You want to practice rolling
over and a hammock sounds good to you. But what if you fell out during turbulence? You’re
safer now. So, we agree—we adults anyway— that the
overhead baby thing was a bad idea. But the bar and lounge sound pretty good. What happened
to them? And what does their demise have to do with … seat size? You’ve probably guessed that money is at
the root of this. You see, airlines have two main priorities. Their first priority is to get you to your
destination safely: that’s why they never take off without giving you instructions about
what to do in an emergency. (We’ll talk about how safety impacts seat size – and
how it might even make your seats bigger—in a moment.) The airline’s second priority is to make
money. Airlines are in business. And no matter how much money a business is making… they
always want more. And while airlines don’t sell seats (you can’t take them with you),
they do rent them for the duration of a trip: one to a ticket. So, the more seats, the more tickets. And
the more tickets, the more money. That’s why first the lounges went… To
make room for more seats! Then, well, if seats are smaller, you can
fit more of them into a plane. So, the seats got smaller to make room for
more—smaller—seats! Airlines measure seat room using something called “pitch.” When
you think about it, “pitch” is an alarming word: in baseball, the best pitches are ones
no one can hit. Pitch means sticky tar—or something steep—like the steep price of
an airline ticket! A sales pitch can trick you into buying something
you don’t need—and when airplanes measure “pitch,” it is a little misleading. Pitch
doesn’t measure leg room (we all have different sized legs anyway). Pitch doesn’t measure
the distance from the edge of your seat cushion to the back of the seat in front of you. (They’d
rather you didn’t know that). Pitch refers to the space between two identical
parts on a seat. A 29-inch pitch does not mean you have 29 inches to sit in. It means
that there are 29 inches between the edge of your seat and the edge of the seat in front
of you. 29 inches to accommodate: —your legs from the knees down.
—your feet —that tucked-under-the-seat-in-front-of-you
bag —the back of the seat in front of you—including
—the little pocket for magazines and flight information and
—the fold down table And!
—The whole other passenger in front of you—including their back cushion—from their knees up (where
it starts all over again). That’s pitch! In the 1950’s Boeing’s 707—a cool plane
–widely considered the first commercial jet—had a pitch of 34 inches—but it’s not like
people back then were staying in their seats. They were traipsing off to get a drink at
the piano bar! Today—with no lounge to hang out in—we
are really stuck in our seats! And I do mean stuck. Seats have shrunk from that once roomy
34-inch pitch to as low as 29 inches. We’ve lost five inches. Meanwhile, the average American
man’s weight has jumped from 166 to nearly 200 pounds. (And that’s just the average,
nearly half of us are bigger!) That means, while pitch has shrunk by 15 percent,
passengers have grown by 17 percent! That’s a lot of scrunching! Hey, is that why airline
food is notoriously unappetizing? Are they hoping we won’t eat it and somehow lose
weight inflight? That’s… not a good sales pitch. On top of that, we’re all about an inch
taller. And seat width has diminished too! In the 1990’s, the narrowest seats were
19 inches; today the widest seat in economy is skinnier than that! And some seats are
as little as 17 inches wide. If your hips measure 40 inches around—you’ve got a
problem! Now, the airlines will tell you that they’ve
redesigned the seats in such a way that you’ll never notice this shrinking pitch. For example:
by making the cushion at your back thinner—or in Airline speak, “less bulky.” But please, My knees Disagrees Oooh— The
squeeze! (sorry—couldn’t help myself!) It’s not just knees who are complaining.
The U.S. Congress is worried too. They may, or may not, be “fat cats” in congress,
but you don’t have to be overweight to feel cramped in an airline seat. And congress is
right to worry about what could go wrong if passengers are wedged so tightly in their
seats that crowded conditions slow them down. Remember how much trouble it was to get to
the bathroom? Hopefully, that’s not an emergency. But what if you were flying when a real emergency
occurred? Flight evacuations are rare —in fact airplanes are widely, and rightly, considered
the safest way to travel—but emergencies do happen. When a plane is in trouble, every second counts.
Passengers need to evacuate quickly. You want to grab your flotation device and whoosh down
that inflatable slide—or jump into the waiting raft—OK, I hope it never happens, but it
does sound fun!—or just get out as quickly and calmly as possible. And some passengers have small children that
slow them down, while elderly fliers may already be moving a bit slowly to begin with. Right
now, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) plans to spend 12 days testing and measuring
evacuation times. A few members of Congress expressed concern that the test evacuees might
all be slim athletes and – in an exciting show of congressional co-operation—congress
is using its oversight to make sure that at least some of the test evacuees have physical
disabilities and other impediments common in the general population. The chances that you’ll ever need to evacuate
an airplane are as slim as I wish I was, but the silver lining of that unlikely scenario
is that Congress may insist that we all get bigger seats again! That’s a winning pitch! And if you win the lottery before that happens?
Please — buy me a ticket on one of those planes with the hot showers! Okay wake up,
it’s only a dream…. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other cool videos
I think you’ll enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay on the Bright Side of life!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Who else has ßeen a HUGE fan of Brightside ßefore

    👇I'm Gifting my next Loyal 11 sußcribers🎁
    🙏With Notifications🔔

  2. The reason why they are so small is so that we can watch funny videos of Brian Shaw trying to fit into them… true story that has actually happened a few times on his YT channel.

  3. Lounge access is worth it if you can spare the extra bucks, some airlines allow premium economy access to lounges too. Free food liquors quiet and comfortable. Just make sure to have enough layover to enjoy it.

  4. दोस्तों एक बार मेरी फोटो को टच करके मेरे भी वीडियो देख लो प्लीज हम यूपी के छोटे से गांव के रहने वाले हैं और मेरे चैनल को भी सबस्क्राइब कर लो

  5. दोस्तों एक बार मेरी फोटो को टच करो और अपना छोटा भाई समझ कर ही सही एक बार मेरे गाने तो सुन लो और मेरे चैनल को भी सबस्क्राइब कर दो प्लीज

  6. दोस्तों एक मौका मुझे भी दिलाओ सिंगिंग करने का मेरे चैनल को सब्सक्राइब करके मुझे सपोर्ट करो प्लीज मेरी फोटो टच करो एक बार

  7. Riches and Dishes – Lesley meets Gunther

    In episode 5 of Riches and Dishes, Gunther opens the door to Lesley.

    Maria Jr.'s biological father.

    Lesley is 18, rude, condescending, but rich.

    Gunther never met the father so he asked "Whoa, Who are you?"

    Lesley replied "The father of Maria Jr."

    This made Gunther literally Jump backwards three times.

    Then Gunther said "Who?"

    He said walking back up to Lesley.

    Lesley states in a prideful way "You must be proud."😂

    Gunther says "Why?"🤣

    Lesley pranced in, pushing passed Gunther on purpose saying "I'm the father!"🤣

    Gunther says "Huh?"😒

    He says while staring him up and down while bewildered at his words of choice at that moment.

    "Why would I be happy about that? You left!"😠 Gunther said in awe.

    Lesley turned around sliding then says "I'm the coolest man in all of America, you know I'm Navajo? Half, so I'm a native, that means my people were here first."😎

    Gunther: "Thanks Lesley, now we know."😒

    Gunther says "Listen, I don't care, listen again, I need to say that because of your proud demeanor, listen again, I spoke too long."😀

    Lesley looked at him like Gunther was Satan.

    Gunther says "What seems to be the wrong?"😡

    Lesley says "You know, we can speak English."🤬

    Gunther: "I know, it's just you I need to speak simple to."😠

    Maria walks down stairs with Maria Jr. who is 6.

    Then Maria Jr. says "Who's that man in the house, mommy?"😦

    Maria looks at him then gasps "OH MY GOSH!"😀

    Maria runs to him then says "YOU WANT TO STEP UP!"😂

    Lesley says "I needed to let you know that I'm a changed man, I love my family!"😃

    Maria looks at him in pure shock, she didn't expect that.

    Maria: "Last time I saw you, you said you wanted me to get an abortion."😒

    Lesley: "I was a scared teen, we were at a party looking for fun, I didn't know you!"🤗

    Maria: "I know, so I said 'no.'"😑

    Lesley whispers "We can-" then Gunther kicks him in the legs, both of them with one leg HARD.

    Lesley's ankles twist and he falls. Gunther kicked him in the ankles to Maria's horror.

    Maria: "Don't do that!"

    Maria Jr. is confused as ever.

    Maria Jr. thought: "Who was this man that Grandpa kicked in the leg."

    Gunther looked as Maria Jr. walked over to him at Maria Jr. then said "Meet your…possible daddy."😒


    Maria Jr., stunned, says in a stunned tone of voice "Hi, daddy…?"

    Maria Jr. pushed on Gunther's pants and said "Why is he here?"

    Gunther said "To bring pain and suffering to me."

    Maria Jr. was angry and scared, so she screamed "I want a new daddy!!!"

    Lesley stood straight up then said "Okay, that was…hurtful."🙁😡

    Lesley pats Gunther condescendingly on the head like he's petting a dog saying "Right, my good boy."😂

    Then Gunther bites at him but never bites him.

    Gunther then says "Look, I didn't bite like one."🤬

    Lesley then says "Well, old man. I guess you'll have to learn how but anyway-"😅

    Maria slaps Lesley as hard as she can, which knocks him out.

    Naria stares art him in awe then says "I didn't mean to do that!"😰

    Maria Jr. is crying.

    Gunther helps him by calling 911. Lili runs downstairs, hears cops and says "I did not do that!"👿😨😓

    Kinfield runs to Lesley's aid.

    Ms. Mary looks at him and says "WHO DID IT?!"😡 staring at the kiddies.

  8. To save everybody ~9+ minutes of their time and life, here is your answer: *You get what you pay for. Economy Class, the cheapest, seats are small. First Class, the most expensive, seats are big.

    1 like = 1 persons ~9+ minutes of their time and life saved.

  9. 🤔 What food? The last time I took a flight out of the us i was given a 2 once can of soda and 0.3 grams of peanuts. So what foods is the commentator speaking off?

  10. Hi Infographics! Can you please make a video about the the current virus outbreak in Wuhan? If i may suggest a title “SARS vs CORONAVIRUS” would be great…

  11. You mean luxury company flights like Cathay Pacific and AirBus or Qatar and British Airways for flights that are $10,000 or more. Yes,I've heard of those luxurious flights for the rich or for special people such as oil barons or dignitaries or if you need a flight to a private island.

  12. Bright side : Why the plane seats are always so SMALL

    No one:

    Really no one:

    Me : because its not BIG (so easy use your mind) LOLL

  13. You would think someone in the airline industry might figure out that some of us who used to fly frequently, don't fly at all anymore because they've made sitting in an airplane so uncomfortable. And it's not just for the flight time itself, I've experienced gate-holds of over an hour. Or inching along a taxiway (thirteenth for take-off) like we were bumper to bumper on the Van Wyck expressway. Plus we've all heard the stories of passengers kept on the plane even though they're on the ground so long that they start trying to go out the emergency exits. Flying before airline deregulation in 1979 was a pleasure. Ever since then, it's been nothing but a chore – something to be endured just because there is no alternative. If we ever accomplish high-speed rail in this country, the air lines will be in trouble. I'll go so far as to say that what the air lines did to the railroads in the mid-twentieth century – a new industry needs to do to them in the mid-twenty first century. Where's my personal, pilot-less drone?

  14. They should sell obese people 2 seats instead of forcing them into one, and taking over half of mine because I'm extremely claustrophobic.

  15. Who’s also been a BIG fan of BRIGHT SIDE before 2019??

    👇 gifting my next 100 loyal subscribers 💫😇

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