Time for the Government to Step Up.
When you live out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—Hawaii is the most remote populated spot on the globe—you get used to long flights. It’s five hours from here to Los Angeles or San Francisco; about six to Seattle; 6.5 hours due south to Tahiti; 8.5 hours to Tokyo; and almost 11 hours to Sydney. So we’re accustomed to sitting in a jet for a long time.
We are not happy, however, having to sit with our knees up under our chins for all those hours. As everyone knows, leg room on virtually all flights has been diminishing—unless, of course, you are willing to pay an additional fee or can afford to bite a large bullet and fly first class.
But a lot of people can’t afford it and that’s why a group of Hawaii lawmakers has introduced a resolution in the Legislature here asking the Secretary of Transportation—that would be Anthony Foxx—to establish minimum standards for airline seats. I presume that means seat width and leg room, although the initial news reports don’t specify.
One of the sponsors of the resolution is State Senator Brickwood Galuteria who, at six-feet-four-inches, clearly has difficulty folding himself into a standard economy-class seat. I’m not that tall, but I still feel his pain. It’s tolerable on one of our 25-minute inter-island hops, but going anywhere else can be a real ordeal.
Of course one of the industry lobbyists, Airlines for America, is against any regulation and they argue that there are no data to suggest that the size of airline seats makes flying potentially unsafe. Really? What if the guy sitting between you and the aisle weighs 300 pounds and his seat is 17.2 inches wide? You need data for that?