When you ease into the typical airline seat, you probably think to yourself, "This roominess is freaking me out. This seat could stand to lose a few inches." Your dreams are coming true, happy traveler!
You may be unaware (kidding! You are no doubt keenly aware) that many of the economy section seats on domestic airline flight are a mere 17 inches in width—fewer inches than there are in the standard American submarine sandwich. Are airline seats actually getting smaller as we as nation getting fatter? Or is your imagination playing tricks on you?
Not at all! "For almost 20 years, the standard setup in the back of a Boeing 777 was nine seats per row. But last year, nearly 70% of its biggest version of the plane were delivered with 10-abreast seating, up from just 15% in 2010," the Wall Street Journal reports. Seats are shrinking. As if that wasn't bad enough, there is the unspoken motivation: "Pressure in economy cabins also lets airlines upsell coach passengers."
So it's not just that cash-strapped airlines need to cram a few extra seats in the economy section in order to make up for higher gas prices and whatnot; it's that they know that the decreasing seat sizes will make passengers more and more miserable until the agony becomes so severe that passengers are forced to sell a kidney off in order to raise the money to upgrade to a human-sized chair. It is not just miserliness, but purposely engineered torture.
While we strongly endorse the tarring and feathering of airline executives in order to address this injustice, we do not, under any circumstances, endorse you reclining your airline seat all the way back in order to "get more room," you fucking bastard. Two wrongs don't make a right.