air travel comfort

October 23rd, 2005

Flying out last Sunday, as I was sitting on the plane, with about 10cm of space between my knees and the seat infront of me, I got to thinking about how the level of comfort has taken a turn from the early beginnings of air travel. It used to be expensive, priviliged transportation, for the hot shots who could afford it. Since the cost of the flight already was so high, they could throw in some "complimentary" food and drinks, which would only raise the price by a few percent. Sitting in a noisy aircraft with dips in pressure and occasional turbulence was never classified as comfortable. But the airlines went out of their way to improve the things they could do something about. The big chairs which fall back are now even found on ferries, adopted apparently because they are so comfortable. And for a good period of time, people did travel on those planes, the priviliged ones at least.

But then came the people's revolution. We are getting better at running our airlines, operational costs are down, meanwhile the demand for travel is booming. Why not sell this to more people? And so the prices dropped, budget airlines joined the race and now there are more airlines than political scandals in a year. So it has become cheap, but at what cost? Airlines still have drinks, but they're trying to retail them now. Air travel has gone for being reasonably comfortable to sitting on a bus. Seats used to be wider, there was more leg space, more space in the overhead etc. As a kid, we had this excercise in gym class where you would crouch down and touch your toes, then jump up so that your knees touch your chest. I was quite good at that and I imagine it will come in handy when I'm travelling with Ryanair next week and I expect to rest my knees on my chest.

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1 Responses to "air travel comfort"

  1. Erik says:

    Oh Ryanair... Good luck. I flew with them once from London Stansted to Milan Bergamo when I lived in England - longest two hours of my life.

    Mind you at least it's an English airliner so you don't get the safety instructions in two languages etc