The airline industry has been packing more passengers into smaller seats over the last few years, and now one of the world's largest jet manufacturers is calling for an end to the crush.
Airline seats with less legroom and thinner seat back cushions have been part of a growing trend in an industry trying to increase profits by fitting more passengers into each jetliner. The squeeze has prompted an outcry from fliers, particularly big and tall travelers.
Now, French-based Airbus is calling on the industry to adopt a comfortable standard, at least for the seat width. It released a study last week that says a minimum seat width of 18 inches improves passenger sleep quality by 53%, compared with 17-inch wide seats.
"When it comes to flying long haul in economy, an inch makes a huge difference on passenger comfort," said Irshaad Ebrahim, a spokesman for the London Sleep Center, which conducted the study for Airbus.
Airbus said it has always maintained a standard of 18-inch-wide seats but noted that many airlines have installed narrower seats to remain competitive.
The study was based on 1,500 participants at airports in Singapore, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Airlines for America, the trade group for U.S. airlines, rejects the idea of a standardized seat width, saying each carrier should be free to install the seats that best suit its needs.
"We believe individual airlines should be able to determine fleet configurations that best meet their customers' needs, as they do today," said Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for the trade group.
Qantas to upgrade LAX lounge
Los Angeles International Airport recently ranked a disappointing 109th in a survey of global travelers.
But when it comes to airport lounges, LAX may soon be climbing up the rankings.
Qantas became the latest airline to announce plans to upgrade its lounge at the Los Angeles airport. The airline plans to more than double the size of the current lounge, offering seating for 600 visitors, plus a circular interior fireplace.
The new Los Angeles Business Lounge will be jointly owned by Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways but managed by Qantas.
Delta Air Lines recently renovated its Sky Club lounge at Terminal 5, adding a new full-service bar, new carpet, tile and other amenities, plus a behind-the-scene lounge for super VIPs.
Qantas said it will provide an "extensive food offering" at its lounge so that travelers on long-haul flights can "maximize their sleep" on lie-flat seats. Passengers trying to get some shut-eye on the planes get a duvet and a special sleep-inducing tea.
The new Qantas lounge will open in phases starting in April.
Let's admit it: Almost no one listens to the safety instructions that flight attendants give at the start of each flight.
Even the airlines know it. That is why so many have tried to make catchier safety messages.
Over the last week, Virgin America and Delta Air Lines have unveiled new safety videos to get the safety message across to passengers in a new and attention-grabbing way.
Delta's new video has a definite holiday spin, featuring Christmas elves, Santa Claus, snowmen and Alex Trebek, host of the television game show "Jeopardy!."
Virgin America's video is a bit more lively, with dancing, upbeat music and rapping children.
There is only one problem: In the videos, passengers are admonished to turn off their electronic devices during takeoffs and landings. The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week plans to ease those restrictions.
Delta spokeswoman Leslie Scott said the airline plans to make announcements after the videos are shown to explain the latest FAA rules.
"This video is too much fun to scrap the whole thing," she added.
No word on whether Virgin America will do the same.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun