Comfort is on hold

A few months ago we were playing golf with a friend when a Boeing 757 leaving Kahului Airport flew overhead.

“There goes the worst, most uncomfortable plane that ever flew,” our friend remarked. “It’s a long, narrow piece of aluminum with no legroom, a single aisle, and you sit on top of the person next to you.”

Well, according to an Associated Press story in The Maui News, the airlines are trying to make our friend’s flying experience even more uncomfortable – especially if he flies in coach.

The story detailed how the airlines are taking padding out of seats to make them lighter and smaller. This is allowing the airlines to add another row of seats in some planes.

The story also noted that most airlines have taken the standard configuration of nine seats in a coach row on Boeing 777s and ordered their new ones with 10 in a row. Another is ordering its 787 “Dreamliners” with nine seats across in coach instead of the standard eight.

Let’s turn that “Dream” flight into a cramped nightmare.

We keep thinking that some airline is going to take an approach that stops all the unbundling of services and cramming of passengers that is now the norm in the business. We can envision a one-class service with a couple of inches more legroom than standard coach, a checked bag and a light meal. There must be an audience that would pay for the convenience and the treatment.

It seems Hawaii would be an ideal place for such an approach to be tested. With flights to get here taking at least 5 hours, it should dawn on someone that passenger comfort would be a good selling point.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.