Pharyngula

Airplanes make me cranky

I’m home. It’s been a very long day with horrible flight delays, and I’m grouchy. I must frog blast the vent core.

I was stuck on an airplane for far too many hours, and I wanted to get some work done — on my laptop. Have you noticed how tightly packed the seats are in coach? It was tight, but I could at least get started on some work, when the guy in front of me decided to recline his seat back and sleep. Suddenly there was a head rest aimed at my throat and the back of the guy’s head in my nose. I could smell his shampoo! (I think it was scented with sweat vinaigrette, with extra animal fats added for body). I tried to work some more, but the only way to do it was to partially open my laptop, rest the hinges on my thighs, and reach into the gap to type; it was like squatting by the tank at Seaworld, trying to do dentistry on a dolphin while squinting at the phosphorescent herring stuck to the roof of his mouth.

Airlines, please. If you’re going to squeeze the seats together that closely, could you please lock them all in one position? It just doesn’t work otherwise. And how about screening passengers for basic hygiene? By the end of the trip I was beginning to think that it would be a mercy if the hairball in front of me detonated.

OK, I feel a little better now.

Comments

  1. #1 Martin Wagner
    March 30, 2008

    By the end of the trip I was beginning to think that it would be a mercy if the hairball in front of me detonated.

    I can hear Mark Mathis and the UD crowd now:

    “PZ Myers advocates blowing up airplanes!”

  2. #2 MAJeff, OM
    March 30, 2008

    I’m 6’5″. Flying is literally painful if the person in front of me decides to recline, so I will jam my knees into their seat for the first 15 minutes or so to keep them from reclining (yeah, the 15 minutes hurts, but it’s better than the whole flight).

  3. #3 BadMA
    March 30, 2008

    PZ, did you at least have a power outlet? It seems like a ridiculously small percentage of airlines actually have power, so I’m always stuck with the battery. At least with a power outlet you can work the entire flight.

    I always try for an exit seat. It’s the only place in coach with a modicum of leg room!

  4. #4 Max Fagin
    March 30, 2008

    “it was like squatting by the tank at Seaworld, trying to do dentistry on a dolphin while squinting at the phosphorescent herring stuck to the roof of his mouth.”

    It sounds like you have a basis for this comparison?

  5. #5 rmp
    March 30, 2008

    You can actually get small devices now that will prevent the seat from going back. Don’t ask me about the appropriateness of these devices. And I do know that being appropriate is terribly important to you.

  6. #7 JJ
    March 30, 2008

    You need a “Knee Defender” – http://www.kneedefender.com.

    No I don’t work for them but I did buy one for a friend.

    J

  7. #8 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    March 30, 2008

    Wikipedia’s page for FCD (Friend of Charles Darwin) is a blank stub. Does one of you want to take a crack at it?

  8. #9 Paguroidea
    March 30, 2008

    Has anyone tried the knee defender? I clicked on the link, and it looks like it is for real. Does it work? How can something the size of a key work on a reclining seat? Is someone pulling our chains?

  9. #10 Michael X
    March 30, 2008

    This reminds me of the story about Airbus pitching the idea of “standing room only” seats to Asian carriers for short duration flights. Almost makes me appreciate coach. Almost.

  10. #11 Jim
    March 30, 2008

    I just recently went on a trip to Japan. Fourteen hours nonstop from JFK to Narita, in economy class, with the ambient humidity in the cabin somewhere around that of Death Valley. Arrgh…

  11. #12 rmp
    March 30, 2008

    I’ve not used the knee defender so I can’t personally say but I saw it as a news story and they never get it wrong do they?

  12. #13 Mister Troll
    March 30, 2008

    I’m out of ammo! Great game.

  13. #14 LawnBoy
    March 30, 2008

    Though I’m not as tall as #2, I do the same thing. What amazes me are the times that people look at me with disgust because they “have the right to be comfortable.” I’m not sure why they think I don’t have the same right.

  14. #15 Carlie
    March 30, 2008

    But does the person the knee defender is being used on ever get angry and ask the flight attendant why their seat won’t go back? And then it’s discovered? And then the person is arrested for vandalizing airline property? I like the idea, but worry about the latitude airlines have taken lately to claim ill will.

  15. #16 Rob
    March 30, 2008

    When the guy in front of me reclines his seat, squashing your computer, I say very loudly “Hey! You’re breaking my computer” and I push on the back of his seat. I’ve never had anyone do anything but apologize. (I try to refrain from calling them morons, which helps.)

  16. #17 Physicalist
    March 30, 2008

    @ MAJeff: I’m even a hair taller than you, and I’ve done the knee block maneuver too (my father taught it to me when I was young). But usually when they try to recline, I just politely tell the person in the seat in front of me that I’m very tall, and that I’m sorry that there isn’t enough room for them to lean back. Invariably they cooperate. (It’s somewhat odd how we behave on planes, packed into each other’s personal space and trying not to interact very much.)

    The airplane leg-room thing has been going through some transformations lately. On the one hand, tall people generally used to be able to get exit row seats, where as now many airlines have decided to sell them off to make more money. (Thoroughly inconsiderate to tall people, to my mind. You’ve got seats with extra leg room and certain passengers who need that room; it’s a foolish place to pinch pennies.) But on the other hand, several airlines have started putting in more legroom throughout the plane. I just flew JetBlue a couple weeks ago, and I was able to extend my feet under the seat in front of me — in a regular coach seat!

  17. #18 dorght
    March 30, 2008

    Close seat spacing is more then a pain in the ass for travels, it’s a serious safety issue.
    An indebt accident report I read from crash in Britian showed that danger. The crash was a very hard but survivable “alighting” followed several minutes later but a cabin fire. The majority of those who did not escape and died in the fire could not escape because they had broken femurs. Their femurs where broken by bending the bone between the seat back in front of them and the front of their own seat pan.
    Airlines fight having to beefup seats and floors for safety but have no problem mounting telephones, TV screens and other mass items up high on the seat back where they load the seats and floors most.

  18. #19 Dennis
    March 30, 2008

    I just got home from Vancouver after a 4 and half hour flight with sone guys elbows stuck in my ribcage while typing on his laptop for the entire trip. So I take a different view on this one. At least if the guy in front reclines I can do the same and buy a little space. But when the guy beside you decides to use his elbows like Gordie Howe in the corners your screwed. And thank god for Westjet and their “slightly” more leg room.

  19. #20 Jeff Knapp
    March 30, 2008

    I am 6’4″ with long legs. I cannot even fit in most airline coach seats. The airlines keep cramming the seats closer and closer together to the point that if you are over 6′ tall, you won’t fit comfortably. If you are like me, you won’t fit at all. Generally, I don’t fly anymore. I drive or take the train and plan the extra time it takes whenever possible. (I drove trucks over the road for a while so, long hours on the road are something I got used to.) If I have to fly, I get to the airport hours ahead of the flight so that I can check in early enough to get one of those precious exit row seats that do have the extra leg room.

  20. #21 Stephen
    March 30, 2008

    See, this is why you should have gotten an Eee PC instead of that MacBook Air. Actually, you could have gotten several Eee PC’s for that price. It’s only slightly bigger than a DVD case, so plenty of room for it in coach.

  21. #22 Tony P
    March 30, 2008

    Lets face it, flying has become public transit. I’m only 5’8″ but those damned seats are downright uncomfortable for even short flights.

    I’d be willing to pay a few dollars more to have maybe one less seat per row and fewer rows overall.

    And for what we pay, I’d expect newer aircraft. Last flights I took had us on ancient Canadair and Boeing aircraft that required extensive repairs before they could take off.

  22. #23 MAJeff, OM
    March 30, 2008

    Is anyone jumping with glee over the Delta/Northworst merger? The quality of service is gonna get even worse. NW can’t be improved–a horrible company whose only real success has been ripping off the citizens of Minnesota.

  23. #24 chris
    March 30, 2008

    The best flights are the international ones that take hours and hours to get where they need to go. I’m going to japan at the end of may, luckly i’ll be taking off from vancouver and not Newark like last time. I’m glad they don’t have crazy creationists there…I hope.

  24. #25 Noni Mausa
    March 30, 2008

    Gang, I am a little 5′-2″ dumpling of a thing, and I also do not have enough room on air flights. It boggles my mind how the truckdrivers and basketball players manage.

    Noni

    PS That broken femur story was dreadful.

  25. #26 Noni Mausa
    March 30, 2008

    Further to plane crashes and broken femurs here: http://www.mythbustersfanclub.com/mb2/content/view/42/27/
    Mythbusters dropping airplanes and trying to break necks and legs.

    Over and out.

  26. #27 Barry Leiba
    March 30, 2008

    #14: I’ve once had a flight attendant demand that I move my knees to allow the seat to recline, telling me that its occupant “has a right” to recline. When I asked why I don’t “have a right” to have knees, or to use my laptop, she sniffed (yes, she did), said that I could use my laptop, and walked away.

  27. #28 Monado
    March 30, 2008

    You have to be careful with laptops because if the person in front of you puts their seat back too quickly, it can break the computer screen. I always try to look around and see if the other person minds. (They might be reclining, too.)

    You can try to be in the front seat or beside the emergency exit door.

  28. #29 Monado
    March 30, 2008

    You have to be careful with laptops because if the person in front of you puts their seat back too quickly, it can break the computer screen. I always try to look around and see if the other person minds. (They might be reclining, too.)

    You can try to be in the front seat or beside the emergency exit door.

  29. #30 defectiverobot
    March 30, 2008

    I’ve actually taken to flying red-eye for that very reason. Red eyes being generally underbooked, I’m able to get an entire row to myself, behind someone who also has an entire row to him/herself. I’ve found that it’s worth a little sleeplessness to be able to stretch out on the airplane.

    I wish I were brave enough to even be able to ask politely to not recline, but at 6’3″, 225 lbs, I’m just a meek little coward.

  30. #31 Alex
    March 30, 2008

    I hate to defend the airlines but if you want more room in coach then you have to be willing to pay more for your seat which is something that American consumers will fight tooth and nail. Each inch of extra legroom means less room for extra seats that can be sold at a profit. Higher fuel prices make this more true than ever. It sucks but thats real world economics at work.

  31. #32 Hoots_McTaverna
    March 30, 2008

    Here’s a neat trick – either for safety reasons, or just because aircraft seat designers are occasionally taller than the average jockey, seats are designed so that they can be pushed from behind (quite easily) and ‘unreclined’.

    So if that mean person in front won’t respond to a polite request, just gently click them back into position. This has worked for me on multiple Australian and Asian airlines, so I expect it is a feature worldwide.

    Remember to smile, and use this little trick with discretion. I find it is a nice backup -but not replacement- to friendly negotiation.

  32. #33 KC
    March 30, 2008

    I’m home. It’s been a very long day with horrible flight delays, and I’m grouchy. I must frog blast the vent core.

    Holy crapski. Did PZ just reference MARATHON?

  33. #34 xander
    March 31, 2008

    The venerable Dr. Myers is a Marathon player?!

  34. #35 skyotter
    March 31, 2008

    Chuck Thompson has a good piece of advice in Smile When You’re Lying (great book) — before you sit down, take all the crap out of the seat-back pocket in front of you and toss it into the overhead. getting rid of those in-flight magazines and Sky Mall catalogues buys an extra inch for your knees. not a lot, but it’s a FREE inch …

  35. #36 ddr
    March 31, 2008

    Hey PZ!

    Maybe this will put you in a better mood.

    http://cectic.com/

  36. #37 PZ Myers
    March 31, 2008

    “Venerable”? I’ll have you know I used to kick ass at Marathon.

  37. #38 Rey Fox
    March 31, 2008

    Funny, I’ve never known airplane seats to recline more than about 5 degrees.

  38. #39 drtomaso
    March 31, 2008

    As someone who routinely flies to Tokyo Narita from Newark (I used to fly out of JFK, but sitting in traffic for 2 hours before a 11-13 hour flight is excessive), I can vouch for the exit row strategy.

    Here’s my long flight in coach class hints and tips.
    (1) most important: get an exit row seat if possible. Failing that… opt for an aisle.
    (2) Avoid being near the center section front bulkhead. This wall between sections has attachment points for hanging a bassinet. Things that fly in bassinets dont know how to adjust their ears to the pressure changes, and end up screaming non-stop for 11.5 hours.
    (3) Be either near the very back, or very front, as meal services start from these locations. Front is preferable as you will be able to get off the plane quickly. I’ve never had a problem being the last guy onto a plane, but I definitely want to be the first off.
    (4) Avoid being near the bathrooms. I have never had a problem with odors, but people tend to congregate near these areas on long flights.

    I’ll be flying again to Japan at the end of April. I cant wait, except this time the flight will be even longer- 12 hours to Narita, hour plus on a bus to Haneda, and then two or three down to Kagoshima.

  39. #40 Bryant
    March 31, 2008

    Eh, Marathon’s in the past, it has effectively been replaced by Halo.

  40. #41 Autumn
    March 31, 2008

    As a 5’6″ man married to a 4’10″ woman, my son will be suitably adapted to jet-setting.
    Won’t be long before all those trends showing positive responses to tall people and negative implications for the “spatially gifted” start to turn.

  41. #42 Nathanael Nerode
    March 31, 2008

    I’ve sworn off flying completely. So it takes six extra days to get to England and four extra days to get to the West Coast. And even longer to go by ship to Japan. It’s worth it.

  42. #43 davem
    March 31, 2008

    I have the same problem as #2 at 6’5, I am in pain if the guy in front tries to recline. I just push back (I usually have no choice), so that the seat physically can’t recline. I just explain to the person in front that they are sharing my misfortune :0) At check in, I stand on tiptoes sometimes, in order to impress the check-in staff that I am *really* tall, and to take pity on me and give me an emergency exit seat. It sometime works, but when it doesn’t, I invariably find a group of pygmies in the extra legroom seats.

  43. #44 Tom
    March 31, 2008

    As the 5’6″ son of vertically challenged parents, air travel is one of the few occasions when I am glad to be short. I get to stretch out in economy.

    On a 15 hour flight from London to Singapore, my parents had blagged the emergency exit seats. When they realised that they didn’t really need them, they offered them up to two taller people who were sitting nearby. I’m proud of them for that.

  44. #45 Bride of Shrek
    March 31, 2008

    And while we’re at it- as someone who travels internationally (Aus to UK) with 3 small children, why can’t the bloody airlines put all kids/parent combos in the same area. Not everyone needs the skycots but it would be a good idea to also bundle people with toddlers etc together in the same area. It saves us the embarrassment of apologising non-stop to the poor bastard who has been seated next to us and has to deal with food flinging/tantrums/poo smells, we’re not going to get any sleep for the flight anyhow so my kids crying/your kids crying- its all the same, and we form a sort of comradeship and we’re quite happy to keep an eye on the toddler for the parent who has to take a baby off to change in the toilets.

  45. #46 Cerandor
    March 31, 2008

    Ah, Marathon. While I do love Halo, Cortana was always too nice for an AI. Now I’m nostalgic for being tossed about by the whims of the megalomaniacal master of dismissive spite, Durandal…

  46. #47 craig
    March 31, 2008

    I’ve pretty much only flown JetBlue, except for a couple of Southwest flights (which were crampy)

    I’ve never flown economy on, say Delta or whatever. Is economy on the major airlines different from Jetblue? Because I’ve never felt too cramped on jetblue.

  47. #48 Jack Krebs
    March 31, 2008

    Cool. Marathon is the only computer game I’ve ever really gotten into, and I played it for hours. There were all those third party scenarios, there was Forge for making your own levels, and local area network play (my sons kicked my butt). I know this is old-fogey talk, but Marathon had a feel and some game play aspects that the all the new stuff doesn’t match.

  48. #49 vjack
    March 31, 2008

    Just reading this post makes me want to avoid flying! I don’t even bother bringing my laptop anymore because I can rest assured that the jackass in front of me will always recline the seat. Grrrrr!

  49. #50 Gin dy
    March 31, 2008

    When I fly, admittedly a rare occasion even with travel passes from my husband’s company, I always check who is in back before I move my seat. If a child or shorter person is there, I feel okay to move the seat. If a taller person is there I will ask or just not do it.
    Most airline seats are 17 to 18 inches across. If you are bigger than a 36 inch hip, it is going to pinch. Seats have not necessarily gotten smaller, but we have gotten bigger. The pitch can be anywhere from 30 inches to 34 inches. More is a LOT better especially if you are tall. First class can have up to 80 inches which is just heavenly

  50. #51 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 31, 2008

    I think it was scented with sweat vinaigrette, with extra animal fats added for body

    [homer]grrrggrgghhhhhh vinaigrette with animal fat[/homer]

  51. #52 Sili
    March 31, 2008

    You can still recline seats?

    I thought all the budget airlines had opted for seats without that mechanism in order to save weight. But perhaps it’s only Ryanair, then.

    I can’t complain. I’ve only been on about a handful of flight’s lasting more than an hour and a half.

  52. #53 Epikt
    March 31, 2008

    drtomaso:

    Here’s my long flight in coach class hints and tips.
    (1) most important: get an exit row seat if possible. Failing that… opt for an aisle.

    Except that these days some airlines have gamed the system so that people with aisle seats are the last to board. If the flight is full, or nearly so, this (and the fact that many people define “carryon” as “all my worldly possessions”) guarantees that you won’t be able to put your carryon in the overhead; under the seat it goes, which means no leg room at all for you.

  53. #54 Carlie
    March 31, 2008

    Except Northwest. For some inexplicable reason they have done away with boarding in any orderly fashion whatsoever. People needing special assistance and first class get to board first, and then it’s everyone else. Even in the planes that hold 140 or more passengers. That’s fun.

  54. #55 bernarda
    March 31, 2008

    Well at least you didn’t have to remove your nipple piercing rings for Fatherland Security I hope. Not like that poor woman who is in the news.

  55. #56 areff
    March 31, 2008

    If the airlines would simply staple their passengers to vertical plywood sheets they would be able to cram maybe 3 additional passengers on most flights.

  56. #57 Carlie
    March 31, 2008

    Airbus was way ahead of you, areff. Looks like they gave up on the idea, though.

  57. #58 October Mermaid
    March 31, 2008

    “I must frog blast the vent core.”

    Heh heh heh. Oh, hey, you know, Marathon Durandal was released on Xbox Live recently.

    Maybe some Pharyngulans can get together and play it online sometime…?

    We can get a rocket launcher and make them all pay.

  58. #59 October Mermaid
    March 31, 2008

    Oh, i forgot to mention. If you like podcasts, Retronauts did a Marathon episode or two recently.

    http://www.1up.com/do/minisite?cId=3156908

  59. #60 simplicio
    March 31, 2008

    I am 6’2″ and I NEVER recline my seat on an airplane. I think it’s selfish and rude to do so. There is a great product called “Knee Defender” that you can wedge between your tray table and the seat in front of you to prevent the person in front of you from encroaching on your space.

    http://www.kneedefender.com/

  60. #61 D
    March 31, 2008

    I am 6’7″ and I destest the fact that people can recline the seat. I never recline my seat as a basic principle, even though it will give me extra room. I will ask the person in front to move the seat into the inclined position, if he / she has reclined the seat. Occassionally, someone gets snippy, but a good solid 15 minutes of my knees in his / her spine usually does the trick.

    What I hate most is those people under 6’4″ who sit in the emergency exit row for “more leg room”!!!

  61. #62 Art
    March 31, 2008

    One creative approach is to eat large amounts of powerful garlic before loading. When they lean back with their head just about touching your chin they enter your ‘zone of noxious fallout’ then the fight is on. Their hair pomade versus your garlic. With the odds stacked in your favor.

    This doesn’t seem to work so well with certain cultures that are more or less immune to smells and with garlic eating ethnicities. It also helps to keep a strong breath lozenge or two handy. You never know when it may be better to be less offensive.

  62. #63 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2008

    D:
    We mere 6-footers have legs too.

  63. #64 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2008

    And then the person is arrested for vandalizing airline property?

    No. Haven’t you visited the Knee Defender? homepage?

    What the FAA Says

    The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was asked about the use of Knee Defenders.
    As reported in the October 28, 2003 edition of The Washington Post:
    “FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said the clips were not against federal aviation rules as long as they weren’t used during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    Knee Defenders? are specifically designed to be used with your tray table lowered, while your tray table must be up and locked “during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    So, as long as Knee Defenders? are being used as they are designed to be used in flight, their use does not violate any US aviation law, rule, or regulation.

  64. #65 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2008

    And then the person is arrested for vandalizing airline property?

    No. Haven’t you visited the Knee Defender? homepage?

    What the FAA Says

    The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was asked about the use of Knee Defenders.
    As reported in the October 28, 2003 edition of The Washington Post:
    “FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said the clips were not against federal aviation rules as long as they weren’t used during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    Knee Defenders? are specifically designed to be used with your tray table lowered, while your tray table must be up and locked “during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”
    So, as long as Knee Defenders? are being used as they are designed to be used in flight, their use does not violate any US aviation law, rule, or regulation.

  65. #66 Carlie
    March 31, 2008

    I did go to the website, but I didn’t see that part! My webskillz are poor.

    For my part, since I’m only 5’2″ I always request window seats. Not much trouble squeezing in. However, the last couple of times I’ve flown I noticed that my knees were within an inch or so of the seat in front of me. I mean, come on, most 12-years olds are taller than me! There’s only so much that can be done for efficiency of packing before it fails to meet minimum standards of the average size of people. And, of course, once the airline changes the seating to pack in another 10% more people than makes sense, they start complaining about all the weight messing with fuel efficiency.

  66. #67 Matt Penfold
    March 31, 2008

    “I am 6’2″ and I NEVER recline my seat on an airplane. I think it’s selfish and rude to do so. There is a great product called “Knee Defender” that you can wedge between your tray table and the seat in front of you to prevent the person in front of you from encroaching on your space.”

    That is fine until you find yourself flying half way around the world, say from London to Brisbane.

    That said, the aircraft used on such flights do tend to have a bit more leg room than those used for short-haul.

    As an aside, here in the UK there are plenty of regulations that govern the space that animals being transported by road, rail, sea or air must have. There are no such regulations for how much space humans must be given. Indeed it has been calculated that the raoil companies transporting commuters travelling into London would be fined if they used the same packing densities for cattle as they do for humans.

  67. #68 Longtime Lurker
    March 31, 2008

    Well, with the theme of “Halo” being a war against religious fanatics out to destroy humanity, anyone ever think of releasing a Marathon mod with little Behe’s and big Dempski’s running around?

    Me, I loved the “Myth” franchise, that desparate fight against overwhelming odds to preserve the “Light” from being extinguished just resonates with me.

    Finally, regarding Cortana- it’s tragic that I can’t find a girl willing to paint herself blue and wear red tinted contacts.

  68. #69 BG
    March 31, 2008

    For a detailed look at seating on various airlines, have a look at http://seatguru.com/

  69. #70 Orac
    March 31, 2008

    It could be worse, PZ. You could have experienced the Hand of Doom.

  70. #71 Meredith
    March 31, 2008

    I’m only 5’8, and like other people here. I keep my knees against the seat in front of me on flights to keep them from reclining. I can do this easily, which makes me wonder how anyone over 6 feet is even fitting in the seat. I’ve had a few people turn around to see why their seat won’t recline, but no one’s ever asked me to move (I’m always carefully reading a book when they turn around). And I never recline my own seat, since I’m not letting other people do so.

  71. #72 Peter Ashby
    March 31, 2008

    Look on the bright side PZ, you weren’t flying via London Heathrow’s brand new Terminal 5. 50,000 bags are apparently stacked up waiting to be reunited with their owners and 20% of flights have been cancelled. It is of course a highl modern facility, highly computerised and mechanised so it is something of a surprise as to what went wrong.

    Oh yes and a customer at one of the airport cafes got a bill for 450,000 for five coffees after the computer malfunctioned. It is however easy to avoid Terminal 5, don’t fly British Airways, they are the only tenants…

  72. #73 bernarda
    March 31, 2008

    What I get from all this discussion is that too many people are flying for not enough good reasons.

    Of course everyone thinks that each one of their trip is essential. I don’t believe it.

  73. #74 Wisaakah
    March 31, 2008

    I have the opposite problem – if I don’t recline the seat on a flight more than 2 hours, I end up with horrendous back and neck pain (still painful under 2 hours, but I can deal with it for a relatively short while). Of course, my back still hurts even if I’m reclined, but considerably less. I’ve tried various pillows and every different over-the-counter pain killer known to mankind – I’ve even tried the old standby; drinking. So, to all those behind me in a plane – sorry in advance for encroaching on your space!

  74. #75 Hairhead
    March 31, 2008

    I shocked that no-one has mentioned Deep Vein Thrombosis, which occurs when the legs are cramped in untenable positions for hours on end, and which can be fatal! A decent regulation for decent legroom is necessary to prevent unnecessary deaths, as well as discomfort.

    As for me, on long flights I get the time of meal service from the stewardesses, then I walk back and forth up the aisle during the off-times. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than sitting my Spanish-Inquisition-type seat for more than 30 minutes at a time!

  75. #76 rp
    March 31, 2008

    Wisaakah: Me too. I have a bad back and arthritic hips, and can only sit upright for an hour or so without wanting to scream. And that’s after taking all the drugs I can tolerate. I fly as little as possible, but sometimes I can’t avoid it, and settle for listening to the person behind me talking loudly about assholes who recline their seat.

    And yeah, I’m only 5’2″. I have no idea how tall people stand it. Maybe we could force airline executives to sit in cattle class for all their flights.

  76. #77 sara
    March 31, 2008

    At the gate for a transcontinental flight, my father said, “This feels like Auschwitz.”

    I thought this was in very poor taste* until about the 4th hour when the free soda was having its effect and a long line of the similarly afflicted had formed at the restroom.

    The restrooms on this particular carrier have shrunk amazingly. I am 5’2″, 110 pounds, and I thought the room was too small. I don’t know how anyone large or remotely overweight uses them.

    *If you are Jewish, it is still in poor taste and I apologize.

  77. #78 Ichthyic
    March 31, 2008

    Airbus was way ahead of you, areff. Looks like they gave up on the idea, though.

    holy crap!

    *sigh*

    I remember back in 1990, flying to French Polynesia on a nonstop from SF airport (11 hour flight IIRC), and I had half the plane all to myself.

    pulled down all the chair arms and made couches to sleep on.

    I think that was the last fairly comfortable flight I ever had.

  78. #79 wazza
    April 1, 2008

    Flight to Bangkok, on the sydney-to-bangkok leg of the journey… woke up after two hours, fully dehydrated, panicked and clawed my way over my parents and ran down the aisle to the kitchen, where I got some powder-type cordial…

    then, on the way back, I had delhi belly

    yay!

  79. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2008

    I remember back in 1990, flying to French Polynesia on a nonstop from SF airport (11 hour flight IIRC), and I had half the plane all to myself.

    pulled down all the chair arms and made couches to sleep on.

    I think that was the last fairly comfortable flight I ever had.

    Yeah I had a flight to London around that same time where I had virtually the entire plane to myself. I partook heavily in the free booze. They don’t do that any longer either.

  80. #81 Ian
    April 1, 2008

    “…it was like squatting by the tank at Seaworld, trying to do dentistry on a dolphin while squinting at the phosphorescent herring stuck to the roof of his mouth.”

    I do that all the time and I’ve never had a problem. And I have tentacles. For the life of me, I simply cannot understand why you’re complaining….

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