Shrinking legroom makes space for flying dangers

Interior of airplane with empty seats and sunlight at the window. Travel concept.

The tightening space between seats on planes is causing a stir in the industry, with some arguing shorter legroom could have serious implications for the safety of passengers.

According to ABC News, the shrinking leg space on commercial flights prevents passengers from fully taking on the brace position in a plane crash.

Speaking at a Canberra-based aviation conference, Canadian academic and chair of the International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) Jan Davies said she had legitimate concerns about the issue.

“The seat pitch is the distance essentially between the back of the seat in front of you and your seat back, and airlines have been reducing that distance over the last decade or so,” she said.

“They want to get more passengers in. That means it’s harder to assume the brace position.

“If your seat pitch is less than 30 inches [76.2cm], you will not be able to brace properly if you are of average height … as well as if you are a tall person or a larger person, because there’s just not much space.”

Per ABC, quite a few Australian carriers fall below the 30 inch seat size.

Jetstar’s Airbus A320 and A321 have seat pitches of 29 inches and 28 inches respectively, Tigerair’s A320 also sits at 29 inches.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

    Latest comments
    1. We are in a downward spiral with seat pitch & room, when will the industry get the message that much of the public are not just driven by cheap fares but also require comfort. It might suit youngsters in their early years in travel to distant places confined in sardine tins, it sure is unappealing to me.
      As an older traveller, I buy Business & PE tickets, but there must be lots of people in their middle years that this is not an option. At this rate I can see a time when the industry wakes up, and an airline will offer PE style seating to the whole of the aircraft for long haul trips, might just need a new airline entrant into that market. If I was unable to afford Business/PE then I would not travel to Europe for instance. Your call but I expect there would be many like me that will not take normal economy seat offerings regardless of price. Time for a change!!.

    2. yes more mis-information about seat pitch. You can decrease seat pitch & at same time increase legroom. It’s all about the actual seat design chosen. In the extreme case, the famous saddle seat, (often mentioned by Oleary of Ryanair when he wants more free publicity) would dramatically increase legroom, without changing seat pitch at all.

    3. Davies of all people should understand that seat pitch doesn’t equal legroom. You can increase legroom without changing seat pitch, by simply using more modern seats, which can have thinner seat backs or are shorter front to back. There probably needs to be a measure of legroom & seat pitch is not it.

airline brace position legroom safeskies seats

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