Flying coach is now so cramped it might literally be a death trap

Airlines have been cramming so many extra seats into coach that you might not actually be able to escape a plane safely in an emergency, according to a Daily Beast report.

The site found that the tests used to keep passengers alive are out of date; a U.S. Court of Appeals judge said there was “a plausible life-and-death safety concern” around the “densification” of seats in coach.

The Daily Beast reports:

• The tests carried out to ensure that all the passengers can safely exit a cabin in an emergency are dangerously outdated and do not reflect how densely packed coach class seating has become — or how the size of passengers has simultaneously increased;

• No coach class seat meets the Department of Transportation’s own standard for the space required to make a flight attendant’s seat safe in an emergency;

• Neither Boeing nor the Federal Aviation Administration will disclose the evacuation test data for the newest (and most densely seated) versions of the most widely used jet, the Boeing 737.

The findings came out of a court case brought by the non-profit activist group Flyers Rights. The Court of Appeals also complained that the FAA used outdated studies to argue that it didn’t need to change the way emergency evacuation tests were handled.

The Daily Beast went on to examine 900 pages of FAA and Department of Transportation documents about how airplane cabins are configured to ensure safe evacuation during an emergency:

All of the tests designed to achieve the fastest possible evacuations were devised decades before the appearance of budget airlines greatly increased the density of seating and, in particular, before the size of seats shrank and the space between each row of seats similarly shrank.

So all this tracks with the path of the airline industry overall: service has gotten worse, delays have increased, prices keep going up, seats keep shrinking and you’re powerless over your mortal body, which belongs to the airline while you’re trapped in their metal sky prison, allowing them to treat you however they feel. Now, they might be ensuring your death just to take a few more inches of legroom away from you too.

[Photo: Getty]