Safety Hazards of Shrinking Space on Airliners

Plane
If you’ve flown coach lately you know that the space between your seat and the seat in front of you has shrunken over the years. Besides the fact that it makes the flight less comfortable, especially when the person in front of you decides to recline, new studies are looking at whether it might not also be unsafe.

The reason your space has shrunk is because airlines, in an effort to maximize profits, has moved the aisles closer together and added rows. Your space has shrunk from 35″ to as low as 28″. In addition, with airlines now charging for extra bags, passengers are now carrying on larger pieces of carry-on baggage making for even more reduced real estates on the plane, especially when they store them under the seat in front of them.

Questions are now being raised about how safe this reduced space actually is. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has run various evacuation drills but it is being pointed out that these scenarios are run with fit people who are prepared and trained and who are sitting in seats that are 31″ apart. That’s hardly a realistic evacuation. What exactly would happen with a real life evacuation where 1 in 3 passengers were obese (the national average right now) and where the seats were actually 28″ apart as they presently are?

In addition, there is the problem of deep vein thrombosis and air rage (the in-the-air version of road rage) both of which are associated with reduced personal space.

Ultimately, however, if the FAA and DOT determine that seating needs more space, it will result in a price hike which many passengers aren’t going to be okay with either. Caught between a seat and a small space!


Is the Pilot on your flight high?

Airplane

Apparently, the last time you were on a plane, someone on that plane was possibly higher than everyone else on board; unfortunately we’re talking about the pilot.

A new study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)  found that the use of potentially impairing medications was on the rise among commercial pilots. Of the 6,677 pilots who died between 1990 and 2012 several were found to have taken over-the-counter medications. None were found to have taken illicit drugs recently.

The conclusion of the study found that pilots were either unaware of the dangers of flying under the influence of antihistamines and other cold, flu and allergy medications or they felt that the impairment wasn’t severe enough to put anyone in danger.

The NTSB believes that education is the answer. They believe that properly informing pilots about the potential dangers of over-the-counter medications would cut down on pilots taking them prior to flying.