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Has the distance between rows been reduced during the last 20 years ?

Has the distance between rows been reduced during the last 20 years ?

Jan 2nd, 2009, 06:53 AM
  #1  
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Has the distance between rows been reduced during the last 20 years ?


A friend of mine has flown coach intercont last month after almost 20 years (!!). He is convinced that at that time the distance between rows or the space for legs was longer and therefore more comfortable than now, and now that airfares have been reduced a lot compared to 20 years ago, airlines have reduced this space to place more rows and seats to compensate the loss of revenue.
Despite low costs carriers and those carriers with premium economy seats, would you say that he is right ?
I have seen on the web (www.seatguru.com) that actually the standard pitch of major airlines is about 17-18 inches but I do not remember how it was 20 years ago !!
Fabio is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 07:08 AM
  #2  
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sorry, my mistake: 17-18" is the average seat width. The average pitch is 31 inches
Fabio is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Your friend is (generally) right on both counts. In "real" dollars (i.e. inflation-adjusted) many airfares are significantly cheaper now than they were 20 years ago, and (generally) economy-class seating is tighter, with less legroom, than it was 20 years ago. Business- and first-class seating, on the other hand, is much more spacious - in general - than was the case 20 years ago, especially in international/long-haul aircraft.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 08:44 AM
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Pitch was longer, but that had to be more than 20 years ago. I started flying Asia-US a lot since 1988 on various airlines, and pitch was already 31-32" then in coach.

Same width, less ergonomical seats, and of course, worse IFE. If you want to see what 1989 was like, go fly DL/NW's 744, many of which were delivered in 1989 and haven't gone though any interior change.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Yes, he is correct, in most cases.
suze is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:05 AM
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thanks a lot to all of you

rkkwan, yes it should have been more than 20 years go with a longer pitch.
I started flying intercont in 1985 BA LHR-NRT (via Anchorage at that time !!) on an old B 747-200 but I remember I had the seat next to the exit so no seat in front and I do not remember how the pitch was. Then I flew again intercont very often since 1991 on 744 and pitch was already 31-32" as you said.

It would be nice to know how pitch was 25-30 years ago..... !!
Fabio is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:01 AM
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People have gotten bigger in the last 20 years too.

Of course I don't mean you or I specifically, but all those sitting around us.
SamH is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 08:48 AM
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But I don't think we've all gotten taller!
suze is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:13 AM
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I have gotten taller from 25 years ago, but not 20.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Another thought - planes were not as packed as they are now until a few years ago - it was usually possible to book window or aisle and find middle seat empty - and one could stretch into that space.
gail is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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rkkwan, I haven't gotten any taller in the last 35 years, so I guess you're lucky. My son however, is 4 inches taller than me, lucky dog. That was my point I think anyway).

I'm trying to remember a flight I had...I think in '83 CMH-SFO-NRT-TPE, then home TPE-ICN-DTW-CLE. I don't remember the flight over being so bad, but the trip from ICN-DTW I was in a row with a couple of stout marines and while we fit in the seats OK, we touched shoulder to shoulder and I ended up leaning into the aisle the whole way.

We had Asian crew from SFO-NRT-TPE and US based crew TPE-ICN-DTW. BIG difference even back then.
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