Airline seats getting smaller, passengers getting larger

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 11:48am

It is not your imagination, airline seats are getting smaller. Even worse, we are getting larger making for an uncomfortable equation.

Travel website "Seat Guru" ran the numbers and in a seat-by-seat comparison over time. Its study confirms, the airlines are packing us in.

In the 1960's the average airline seat was 17 inches. In the 1970's it was 18 inches. 1990's seats got even larger at 18.5 inches. But the trend these days is less room. The average seat today is just 16.5 inches, which means more seats per flight, and more revenue for the airlines.

Experts tell CNN that airlines are filling planes much more than before, flying at around 80-percent capacity, but it is not just the size that's making us feel squeezed. As seats shrunk we grew. The World Health Organization says worldwide obesity has doubled since the 1980's.The good news is there is a movement to put a halt to the shrinking space. Airplane manufacturer, Airbus has partnered with the London Sleep Center. It wants to make 18 inches the industry standard for seats and it found that passengers slept over 50 percent better in these slightly larger seats.

Ultimately it is up to each individual airline, not the manufacturer of the plane, to determine seat size. As of now experts predict that airlines will still value the optimal use of space over a few extra inches its passengers.


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