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Even animals are not penned up like that on an airplane

Cheek to cheek to Bangkok, knee to knee to Kuala Lumpur.

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Even animals are not penned up like that on an airplane

Cheek to cheek to Bangkok, knee to knee to Kuala Lumpur. Every centimeter, every millimeter counts on the long haul. One thing is undisputed in the aircraft cabins: Even for normal-sized economy class passengers, it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable when travelling.

The rows of seats are moving closer together, the seat widths are becoming narrower and there is less knee room. According to the US consumer organization Flyers Rights, the average seat pitch has shrunk from 88.90 to 78.74 centimeters and the seat width to just under 41 centimeters over the past 40 years. An impertinence.

Most people still put up with this seating without grumbling. Everyone is free to book a more comfortable seat for a surcharge or two seats next to each other or a comfortable bed in business class. But who can afford that?

So, close your eyes and through: Modern airplane seats are just about acceptable in economy class for people up to a height of 1.79 meters and a weight of 81 kilograms, Flyers Rights calculates. But a good half of humanity is taller, longer-legged and stronger. For them there is only a minimum of space on board, but a maximum of frustration.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now found this out. She had asked passengers to describe their experiences with seats and seat spacing. Annoyed passengers were just waiting for this opportunity. 26,099 people replied. "Torture" was one of the most frequently voiced verdicts; discrimination and assault, pain and cramps have also been reported. Even animals weren't penned up like that, passengers complained.

What the frustrated passengers are not so wrong. Because IATA, the International Air Transport Association, i.e. the umbrella organization of all airlines, regulates almost everything, except for one thing: the minimum size of aircraft seats. Instead, there is the vague rule that the airlines have to ensure that all passengers somehow manage to get out of their seats and storm out of the plane within 90 seconds in the event of an evacuation.

However, the IATA does have precise regulations on the minimum size of accommodation for animals in the air-conditioned and heated cargo hold. Their box must be individually dimensioned so that each pet can stand, sit, move, turn and lie in its natural position. The guiding principle is: as comfortable as possible to survive the rigors of the journey. Blankets and toys are allowed, there is water and treats.

So a dog has it relatively spacious. The largest IATA dog crate is 1.25 meters long, 75 centimeters wide and 85 centimeters high. That's at least 0.93 square meters of space. Pointed-eared specimens, let's say a shepherd dog, have an additional five centimeters between the tip of the ear and the ceiling. He should still be able to wiggle his ears.

For comparison: an economy class seat offers just about 0.5 square meters of space. You can hardly wiggle your toes in the footwell.

Is the suitcase coming or not? And in what condition? Our reporter Lea Freist had to make the unpleasant experience herself: The new suitcase is badly dented on the conveyor belt. But when is an airline liable?

Source: WORLD / Lea Freist

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