That’s a very good, practical question. Maybe 3 inches is too much.

Seat widths have decreased an inch and a half in the last ten years. Adding two inches would only make them 1/2 inch wider than they were ten years ago.

The distance between the seats used to be about 35 inches. In some planes it’s now down to 28 inches.

Leg space is down from 31 to 30 inches.

I don’t see that it should be a massive cost issue to return seat sizes to what they were in the mid-2000s. But, I haven’t run the number. You may be right. suppose it does add $50 to a flight’s cost.

I think that lots people would be happy to pay an extra $50 for the extra room on a 5–6 hour flight, especially people who weigh over 175 pounds as many Americans do. If you’re a heavy person, not to mention heavy and tall, that’s a small price to pay. When Americans are getting fatter and fatter it’s pretty likely that they absolutely don’t want seats getting smaller and smaller.

But, again, you’re right. That’s a factual question.

One way we find out the answer is to propose such legislation and have the numbers people work up realistic cost increase figures and see how consumer’s groups, traveler’s associations and ordinary people respond.

If you’re right that they won’t think it would be worth the cost, the regulation won’t get passed. Well and good if that’s the decision the consumers make, but consumers need to have the option to make that decision.

Thanks for your practical and thoughtful comment.

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 17 novels and over 200 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store