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Opinion

Readers React: No-recline airline seats should be the last straw for government regulators

Airline industry insiders try out the It
Airline industry insiders try out “standing seats” at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach on Sept. 16, 2010.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Thanks to columnist David Lazarus for writing about the latest airline outrage.

The problem with personal space that Delta Air Lines is trying to fix by testing less-reclining seats is a problem of its own making. By cramming so many seats on an aircraft, the airlines reduce space and comfort and then need to make more draconian changes to mitigate that loss of space and comfort.

I do not know why the federal government does not weigh in to protect consumers. Seats should not be so close together, if for no other reason than safety. Evacuating a plane in the case of emergency means that those sitting at window and middle seats are trapped.

Moreover, if the airlines refuse to provide a seat that can reasonably accommodate an average-size person, then the government should compel them to.

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Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am more than 6 feet tall, so I will not fly on any bargain basement airline. In fact, I will almost always pay the extra $20 or so for a few inches of extra legroom.

As for Delta’s new restriction on seat recline, I applaud the airline. I never recline my seat unless there is a child or someone shorter than 5-foot-3 behind me. It’s flat-out rude for someone in front of me to recline his seat without regard to the fact that I am taller than most people.

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Were it up to me, I’d have no-recline seats, which are better for your spine. As you might have guessed, seat reclining is a pet peeve of mine, so I am grateful to Delta.

Michael DiFiore, Long Beach

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To the editor: Lazarus mentions one company’s concept of a “standing seat,” which he describes as a “bicycle seat with a lightly padded, upright piece of plastic to lean against.”

But why stop there? Why not add bicycle pedals that connect to the engines? Coach passengers could be required to pedal for the whole flight, significantly reducing fuel consumption.

Joel Grossman, Los Angeles

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