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(SeattlePI)   New technology allows airlines to remove those luxurious, bulky seats that give you so much legroom in coach, and replace them with smaller, tighter seats. No word if that new technology is a hydraulic press for passengers   (seattlepi.com) divider line 110
    More: Scary, southwest, airlines  
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5289 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Oct 2013 at 12:44 PM (40 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



110 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-15 11:37:48 AM
i.dailymail.co.uk
 
2013-10-15 12:05:30 PM
The seating wouldn't be that bad if they staggered the middle seat slightly. I'm not a big guy, but my shoulders always get squeezed in.
 
2013-10-15 12:21:34 PM
Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals
 
2013-10-15 12:45:54 PM
I'm waiting for them to just remove all the seats and begin strapping us down in stacked rows like logs.
 
2013-10-15 12:46:07 PM
So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?

...right?
 
2013-10-15 12:48:03 PM
Isn't this a repeat from last week?
 
2013-10-15 12:49:02 PM

theorellior: I'm waiting for them to just remove all the seats and begin strapping us down in stacked rows like logs.


Guess I'll be driving to Seattle next time I want to visit people. That's gonna be fun. "I need three weeks off, because it's going to take me a week to get there and a week to get back".
 
2013-10-15 12:49:14 PM
Add a few inches of legroom and airlines can charge more for tickets. Take away a few inches and they can fit more seats on the plane and still charge the same amount or more for tickets.

The airlines are constantly reminding me that my decision to never fly again was the right one.  fark 'em.
 
2013-10-15 12:49:23 PM

sure haven't: So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?

...right?


Yep. I am not looking forward to this. I'm a large guy (6'3") and not fat, but those seats were tiny before. Less legroom just means my knees are going to be an inch deeper into someone's back. Making the seats narrower just means my shoulders are going to jut out over the armrests more and possible into the aisle. Short of reducing the size of my femurs and dislocating my shoulders for the flight, there's not much I can do get smaller.

/effin airlines
//at least I don't fly as much anymore
 
2013-10-15 12:49:25 PM
The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.
 
2013-10-15 12:49:30 PM
I just wish they'd could come up with a seat design that allows me to sit down without jamming my knees into the seat in front of me for the entire flight.

Especially when the bastard in the seat in front of me tries to recline.
 
2013-10-15 12:50:22 PM
No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.
 
2013-10-15 12:50:41 PM

theorellior: I'm waiting for them to just remove all the seats and begin strapping us down in stacked rows like logs.


Some discount airline (Ryan Air) actually announced that.

I'd need a an anesthetic to endure the pin as my legs go purple from lack of blood.
 
2013-10-15 12:51:03 PM
So if these are small even for normal people, where do the airlines get off claiming there's a problem with overweight passengers taking up too much room? Sounds like the original problem is the airline's...
 
2013-10-15 12:52:16 PM
The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.
 
2013-10-15 12:52:42 PM

miss diminutive: Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals


//the other other being sex, when a tall guy can pick you up, settle you "on" and walk around with you
///6-footer here
////three pair of identical shoes gets expensive
//slashie madness
 
GBB [TotalFark]
2013-10-15 12:52:52 PM
getting closer every day:
blogs.smithsonianmag.com
 
2013-10-15 12:53:15 PM

gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.


If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?
 
2013-10-15 12:54:46 PM

mcreadyblue: Isn't this a repeat from last week?


Why, yes it is.  With the same misinformation in the headline.  Just a different airline this time around.

I must be in the minority with my opinion that airline travel has gotten better over the past 10 years.  Not really on account of the airlines themselves, but because of all the technology options that make sitting in a tin can 50,000 feet up in the air more pleasurable.  Noise cancelling headphones and a tablet are your two best friends.  Throw in on-board WiFi and you're totally set.
 
2013-10-15 12:55:41 PM
United sucks donkey balls.
 
2013-10-15 12:56:25 PM

redmid17: sure haven't: So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?

...right?

Yep. I am not looking forward to this. I'm a large guy (6'3") and not fat, but those seats were tiny before. Less legroom just means my knees are going to be an inch deeper into someone's back. Making the seats narrower just means my shoulders are going to jut out over the armrests more and possible into the aisle. Short of reducing the size of my femurs and dislocating my shoulders for the flight, there's not much I can do get smaller.

/effin airlines
//at least I don't fly as much anymore


So, pay the $3K and go 1st class you whiner.
 
2013-10-15 12:57:04 PM

Saul T. Balzac: I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?


Virgin America Airlines, perhaps?  Or maybe any of the other dozen or so carriers that allow you to pay to get an aisle seat or "premium coach" seat with a few more inches of legroom?
 
2013-10-15 12:57:34 PM

DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.


So, buy three tickets.
 
2013-10-15 12:59:03 PM

DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.


Every airline seat thread I say the same thing: they should have a few seats set aside for those of us at either extremes of body size. I'm barely 5' and under 90lbs and don't use a full seat's worth of space. I would be fine sitting in a smaller one, given that I'd be sitting with other small people who didn't overflow their seats into mine. The space saved could be used to add a few larger seats for people who are the opposite extreme in terms of size.

I know they'll never do it for any number of logistical reasons, but still.
 
2013-10-15 12:59:07 PM

Saul T. Balzac: How is there not a middle option?


Because the calculus says cattle car seating is more beneficial and lucrative, even with the complaining customers.  There guys work in volume, and they know there's more business in cramming in low-budget flyers than catering to mid-level, middle income flyers.  The top level they can gouge for insane rates, and they'll pay those.

Yes, it sucks for those of us who actually would happily pay the extra $50 or so to stretch our legs or have actual arm rests.  But, sadly, we are in the margins.
 
2013-10-15 01:01:10 PM

brimed03: miss diminutive: Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals

//the other other being sex, when a tall guy can pick you up, settle you "on" and walk around with you
///6-footer here
////three pair of identical shoes gets expensive
//slashie madness


I'm 5'10" and think such a 6' woman either needs to lose a few lb or find a stronger/larger partner.

/being lifted and thrown around still scares me to death though, so I dont know if I'd call that a sex "benefit"
 
2013-10-15 01:02:32 PM

sure haven't: So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?
...right?


Every time there's a change, the customer loses. You been living in a hole?
 
2013-10-15 01:07:07 PM

doubled99: No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.



The whole 3/4"?
 
2013-10-15 01:08:43 PM

doubled99: No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.


But God forbid we request that airlines rid of reclining seats!

I've seen "tall" people on here called fat, selfish, liars, and ignorant of physics (when it is really geometry).

/not particularly fat or tall as people go, but I am practically all leg so reducing reclining fn on seats would be nice for me
//thinner cushions revealed in TFA are gonna be murder for fat people and people with back problems
 
2013-10-15 01:10:35 PM

Slaves2Darkness: redmid17: sure haven't: So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?

...right?

Yep. I am not looking forward to this. I'm a large guy (6'3") and not fat, but those seats were tiny before. Less legroom just means my knees are going to be an inch deeper into someone's back. Making the seats narrower just means my shoulders are going to jut out over the armrests more and possible into the aisle. Short of reducing the size of my femurs and dislocating my shoulders for the flight, there's not much I can do get smaller.

/effin airlines
//at least I don't fly as much anymore

So, pay the $3K and go 1st class you whiner.


When I'm flying, it is usually for work and on the client's dime. If they would spring for first class or business class, I would do it in a heartbeat. I've only gotten that option once though, and it was because a coach flight cost more than the 1st class equivalent a few days before they wanted me down there on short notice. Driving is almost never an option because that would take time away from my other clients. I don't mind paying for extra room when I fly for personal reasons.
 
2013-10-15 01:12:41 PM
6'6", tree fiddy here.  God blessed me with the physical presence of a small apartment building.  So I am completely and inexorably f*cked if I ever wanted to fly anywhere.

I actually think that I would PREFER the "semi-standing" seats that were pictured above.  I would gladly half-lean against a seatback for 2 hours than be physically wedged into a standard airline seat, where I and the persons beside, in front of, and behind me would be miserable as well.
 
2013-10-15 01:13:09 PM

Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?


United economyPlus. There. Shut up now
 
2013-10-15 01:14:23 PM

HaywoodJablonski: Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?

United economyPlus. There. Shut up now


Do you work for United?
 
2013-10-15 01:17:37 PM

elysive: HaywoodJablonski: Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?

United economyPlus. There. Shut up now

Do you work for United?


Nope
 
2013-10-15 01:18:05 PM

HaywoodJablonski: Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?

United economyPlus. There. Shut up now



I live in Atlanta; I tend to fly Delta.

For some reason, I am never able to get the upgrades to the exit row seats, or other seats with more legroom.  They always seem to be sold out.
 
2013-10-15 01:18:43 PM

theorellior: I'm waiting for them to just remove all the seats and begin strapping us down in stacked rows like logs.


Just go straight to drop pods a d parachute us into our destination.

75% travel for a 10% raise? No thanks
 
2013-10-15 01:20:39 PM

doubled99: No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.


All 4 inches?

Boy are you tight, bottom boy.
 
2013-10-15 01:24:27 PM
I'm anticipating the day when Lufthansa Airline forgoes seats entirely, and stacks passengers like cordwood.
 
2013-10-15 01:27:44 PM
imageshack.com

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???
 
2013-10-15 01:32:45 PM
Airlines are kind of making flying similar to hauling bulk cargo rather than passengers. One CEO wanted to remove all but one toilet aboard his aircraft and when told he couldn't, then he wanted to make passengers pay to use them.

Ever seen those busses in some third world nations that travel those nasty roads between villages? Packed to standing room only, far beyond capacity, natives often even cling to roof racks.

I suspect flying's going to be something like that soon. Complete with the live chickens, foot tied and carried around the neck.

When I was a kid, flying was a luxury, comfortable and didn't cost an arm and a leg. We mostly had turbo prop aircraft, but we also later got the 747 with the actual bar and lounge where you could walk around, drink, listen to a piano player or sit in comfortable seats and chat.

The stewards and stewardesses weren't the stuffed shirts they are today either.

Start taking the train people. It takes a bit longer, but it's more comfortable and you can even get a full sized private compartment or a half compartment -- each with their own bathroom. The scenery is even better.

Plus, if you wreck, you have a much better chance of walking out rather than being scraped up off the ground after falling 40,000 feet. Not to mention the dining car, less pilfering of your luggage by baggage handlers and I haven't heard of anyone going nuts and having to have the train turn around and have the cops take him off, like on aircraft.

Soon, third class in aircraft might be like the old subways: everyone crammed in and holding onto straps bolted into the roof.

I wonder how long before some CEO starts considering recaps for aircraft tires? Like truckers use. They already salvage and reuse electronics from wrecked aircraft. After the NTSB gets done scraping the bodies out and determining the cause of the crash, the companies start salvaging usable parts.

For me, the concept of battling my way through an over crowded terminal, having to watch what I say least the NSA grabs my arse, going through security, getting crammed into a narrow tube, shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers and screaming kids then having to be sealed in there for a few hours is kinda like the 5th circle of hell.

If I get crammed in next to a tub of lard who overflows his seat, then it becomes the 8th circle.
 
2013-10-15 01:33:46 PM

HaywoodJablonski: United economyPlus. There. Shut up now


Is still shiat.
 
2013-10-15 01:34:00 PM

GBB: getting closer every day:
[blogs.smithsonianmag.com image 850x268]


That guy wrapped around the pole near the front, that seems like a really uncomfortable way to spend a month at sea.
 
2013-10-15 01:40:20 PM

HaywoodJablonski: Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?

United economyPlus. There. Shut up now


Stockholm Syndrome.
 
2013-10-15 01:42:12 PM

sure haven't: So I think I understood correctly in that the article actually means the material is thinner, and not the actual room you have?

...right?


"All that foam cushion and padding probably didn't add all that much comfort. All that's been taken out," he said.
 
2013-10-15 01:42:23 PM

valkore: Virgin America Airlines, perhaps? Or maybe any of the other dozen or so carriers that allow you to pay to get an aisle seat or "premium coach" seat with a few more inches of legroom?


Fark legroom.  Does any airline allow you to buy a few more inches of width?  If you buy two seats, they will place them in different rows, or see that one of them isn't occupied and re-sell it.
 
2013-10-15 01:43:40 PM

HaywoodJablonski: United economyPlus. There. Shut up now


Is it any wider, or just "more legroom"?
 
2013-10-15 01:44:01 PM

miss diminutive: Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals


This is what I tell every tall person who glares at me on an airplane. That said, my favorite 'being short' advantage is that I'm great at hiding. Tiny cranny behind the washer? I fit there. Inside a cabinet? Here I go!

Plus you can always buy pants long enough- I can hem pants in about 10 minutes but no tall person can lengthen their too-short pants.
 
2013-10-15 01:44:30 PM

HaywoodJablonski: elysive: HaywoodJablonski: Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?

United economyPlus. There. Shut up now

Do you work for United?

Nope


Yet you still shill for it on Fark? It only advertises more legroom, not more "personal space". If strangers are touching you, you have no real personal space.
 
2013-10-15 01:45:41 PM

flondrix: HaywoodJablonski: United economyPlus. There. Shut up now

Is it any wider, or just "more legroom"?


Just legroom. Same seats, different placement on the plane (exit rot, initial bulkhead in front)
 
2013-10-15 01:46:53 PM

Rik01: Start taking the train people. It takes a bit longer, but it's more comfortable and you can even get a full sized private compartment or a half compartment -- each with their own bathroom. The scenery is even better.


Pittsburgh to Minneapolis is a 1 hour 20 minute non-stop flight.

Via train, it's 22 hours 30 minutes with a stop in Chicago.

You have an odd definition of 'a bit', considering the trip is 17 times longer by rail.
 
2013-10-15 01:47:11 PM

Rik01: Airlines are kind of making flying similar to hauling bulk cargo rather than passengers. One CEO wanted to remove all but one toilet aboard his aircraft and when told he couldn't, then he wanted to make passengers pay to use them.

Ever seen those busses in some third world nations that travel those nasty roads between villages? Packed to standing room only, far beyond capacity, natives often even cling to roof racks.

I suspect flying's going to be something like that soon. Complete with the live chickens, foot tied and carried around the neck.

When I was a kid, flying was a luxury, comfortable and didn't cost an arm and a leg. We mostly had turbo prop aircraft, but we also later got the 747 with the actual bar and lounge where you could walk around, drink, listen to a piano player or sit in comfortable seats and chat.

The stewards and stewardesses weren't the stuffed shirts they are today either.

Start taking the train people. It takes a bit longer, but it's more comfortable and you can even get a full sized private compartment or a half compartment -- each with their own bathroom. The scenery is even better.

Plus, if you wreck, you have a much better chance of walking out rather than being scraped up off the ground after falling 40,000 feet. Not to mention the dining car, less pilfering of your luggage by baggage handlers and I haven't heard of anyone going nuts and having to have the train turn around and have the cops take him off, like on aircraft.

Soon, third class in aircraft might be like the old subways: everyone crammed in and holding onto straps bolted into the roof.

I wonder how long before some CEO starts considering recaps for aircraft tires? Like truckers use. They already salvage and reuse electronics from wrecked aircraft. After the NTSB gets done scraping the bodies out and determining the cause of the crash, the companies start salvaging usable parts.

For me, the concept of battling my way through an over crowded terminal, having to watch what I say least the NSA grabs my arse, going through security, getting crammed into a narrow tube, shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers and screaming kids then having to be sealed in there for a few hours is kinda like the 5th circle of hell.

If I get crammed in next to a tub of lard who overflows his seat, then it becomes the 8th circle.


Modern airplanes are actually extremely good at bringing you through a crash alive. Maybe not walking away, but with perfectly survivable injuries. Most crash victims drown or burn to death after the crash, being trapped inside the plane.

/happy flying!
 
2013-10-15 01:47:30 PM

redmid17: flondrix: HaywoodJablonski: United economyPlus. There. Shut up now

Is it any wider, or just "more legroom"?

Just legroom. Same seats, different placement on the plane (exit rot, initial bulkhead in front)


And as I recall it used to be cost-free to get those seats until airlines realized they could financially benefit from their customers' discomfort.
 
2013-10-15 01:47:59 PM

DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.


I'd take that over the time this *huge* lady I had to deal with. I was in the window seat and she had the middle. She waddles up and surveys the seats for a moment. After doing some calculations, she realizes Republicans have a better chance of voting to make all illegals automatic citizens than she does of fitting in that seat. What does she do? Just lifts my armrest out of the way, aims her ass in the general direction of the seat, and lets gravity take over whilst hoping for the best. She has now covered all over her seat and half of mine. My half that she has annexed? I'm still in it. Her fat-mass is now pinching the shiat out of my leg. Pushing up against her pork shoulder for leverage, I manage to extract my leg while hoping I won't suffer from crush syndrome. I am now jammed up into the wall of the aircraft with the other (non movable) armrest buried into my hip. She just looks at me, shrugs, and pulls out a box of swedish fish to enjoy as a pre-takeoff snack.

I page the air waitress and gesture to the property incursion I am suffering from. She says "Sorry, but the flight's full, there is no where else." I ask the lady "Shouldn't we at least send some people to the other side so that we don't spend the whole flight doing barrel rolls?" I get stink eye from both the air waitress and the fat lady. Fat lady says "It's a medical condition" I ask her "So the swedish fish must be a perscription then?" I didnt' make many friends that day. Thankfully it was only about an hour flight.

I wish the arm rests wouldn't move so fat people would be more or less contained to their assigned area. And I think I should get a refund for subsidizing her air travel.
 
2013-10-15 01:51:29 PM

brimed03: //the other other being sex, when a tall guy can pick you up, settle you "on" and walk around with you
///6-footer here


Jesus dude, with a 6 footer, arn't you worried about impailing those poor girls, Vlad?

Contratulations, BTW.
 
2013-10-15 01:52:17 PM

MythDragon: DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.

I'd take that over the time this *huge* lady I had to deal with. I was in the window seat and she had the middle. She waddles up and surveys the seats for a moment. After doing some calculations, she realizes Republicans have a better chance of voting to make all illegals automatic citizens than she does of fitting in that seat. What does she do? Just lifts my armrest out of the way, aims her ass in the general direction of the seat, and lets gravity take over whilst hoping for the best. She has now covered all over her seat and half of mine. My half that she has annexed? I'm still in it. Her fat-mass is now pinching the shiat out of my leg. Pushing up against her pork shoulder for leverage, I manage to extract my leg while hoping I won't suffer from crush syndrome. I am now jammed up into the wall of the aircraft with the other (non movable) armrest buried into my hip. She just looks at me, shrugs, and pulls out a box of swedish fish to enjoy as a pre-takeoff snack.

I page the air waitress and gesture to the property incursion I am suffering from. She says "Sorry, but the flight's full, there is no where else." I ask the lady "Shouldn't we at least send some people to the other side so that we don't spend the whole flight doing barrel rolls?" I get stink eye from both the air waitress and the fat lady. Fat lady says "It's a medical condition" I ask her "So the swedish fish must be a perscription then?" I didnt' make many friends that day. Thankfully it was only about an hour flight.

I wish the arm rests wouldn't move s ...


The rare times I fly I commandeer the armrest and demand it stays down. Let the person complain to the flight attendant all they want, but they only bought the space on the other side of the armrest.
 
2013-10-15 01:52:25 PM
If you don't like it, drive or take a boat across the ocean. Seriously. Or stop selecting every flight based on price alone.

Airlines are reacting to their customers
 
2013-10-15 01:53:46 PM
cdn.theatlantic.com

i1.ytimg.com

Soon.
 
2013-10-15 01:55:12 PM

Saul T. Balzac: gnosis301: The article says the new seats net a 6 seat increase per plane.  We're talking Wal-Mart-level savings, people.

If 100 passengers would be willing to pay just $16 more for their tickets, airlines wouldn't need to add those extra seats and squish their coach customers further.

I would happily pay an extra $100 per domestic flight for more personal space on a plane, but that option doesn't exist.  It's either pay two or three times the cost of the ticket for business class or first class, or suffer in coach.  How is there not a middle option?


United has "Economy Plus" with more room, but then you end up flying United.
 
2013-10-15 01:55:32 PM

spidermilk: miss diminutive: Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals

This is what I tell every tall person who glares at me on an airplane. That said, my favorite 'being short' advantage is that I'm great at hiding. Tiny cranny behind the washer? I fit there. Inside a cabinet? Here I go!

Plus you can always buy pants long enough- I can hem pants in about 10 minutes but no tall person can lengthen their too-short pants.


Why are people glaring at you?

And yes, being able to fit into overhead compartments has its advantages as well. If there was a hide-and-seek world championships, we'd clean up.
 
2013-10-15 01:56:01 PM

Rik01: Start taking the train people. It takes a bit longer, but it's more comfortable and you can even get a full sized private compartment or a half compartment -- each with their own bathroom. The scenery is even better.


I am pro-train, but... "a bit longer"? Chicago to San Francisco is 52 hours by Amtrak; you could do it driving faster than that, even with an overnight stay. And those compartments? Super expensive, at least if you're traveling alone. Not as expensive as 1st class airfare, but not that far away either -- a lot closer to 1st class than to coach plane too.

If your goal is to get from A to B so you can do stuff at B -- at least in the US, trains are pretty terrible at that (some isolated areas like DC <-> Boston excepted). If you can make the train ride itself part of the trip, then it can be pretty awesome -- but that is only an option occasionally.
 
2013-10-15 01:56:30 PM

elysive: redmid17: flondrix: HaywoodJablonski: United economyPlus. There. Shut up now

Is it any wider, or just "more legroom"?

Just legroom. Same seats, different placement on the plane (exit rot, initial bulkhead in front)

And as I recall it used to be cost-free to get those seats until airlines realized they could financially benefit from their customers' discomfort.


They were free even as little as 2-3 years ago.
 
2013-10-15 01:58:19 PM

HaywoodJablonski: If you don't like it, drive or take a boat across the ocean. Seriously. Or stop selecting every flight based on price alone.

Airlines are reacting to their customers


Lol no they are reacting to the economy. Some people cant afford trips when flights get too expensive (hence efforts to drive down costs), but the airlines dont give two shiats about customer comfort.

/flies very rarely, but more because of the TSA
//doesnt mean the airlines arent stingy assholes deserving of major shame and criticism...especially since taxpayers subsidize them
 
2013-10-15 02:00:25 PM
They should really just make different sized seats and charge different prices for them. On 3 on each side style planes just take the last 5 rows and put in 2 wider seats vs. the 3 and spread the cost of the middle seat onto the other two. Take out one of those 5 rows and spread give them more leg room and spread out that cost over the section. Put it a the back of the plane where most people don't want to be anyway and get more money for those seats.

Larger people for whatever the reason they are larger should be able to buy accommodating seats for a reasonably increased price. I once inquired about actually buying two seats and the bastards said I could, but couldn't guarantee that they would be together!
 
2013-10-15 02:25:33 PM

Rik01: Airlines are kind of making flying similar to hauling bulk cargo rather than passengers. One CEO wanted to remove all but one toilet aboard his aircraft and when told he couldn't, then he wanted to make passengers pay to use them.

Ever seen those busses in some third world nations that travel those nasty roads between villages? Packed to standing room only, far beyond capacity, natives often even cling to roof racks.

I suspect flying's going to be something like that soon. Complete with the live chickens, foot tied and carried around the neck.

When I was a kid, flying was a luxury, comfortable and didn't cost an arm and a leg. We mostly had turbo prop aircraft, but we also later got the 747 with the actual bar and lounge where you could walk around, drink, listen to a piano player or sit in comfortable seats and chat.

The stewards and stewardesses weren't the stuffed shirts they are today either.

Start taking the train people. It takes a bit longer, but it's more comfortable and you can even get a full sized private compartment or a half compartment -- each with their own bathroom. The scenery is even better.

Plus, if you wreck, you have a much better chance of walking out rather than being scraped up off the ground after falling 40,000 feet. Not to mention the dining car, less pilfering of your luggage by baggage handlers and I haven't heard of anyone going nuts and having to have the train turn around and have the cops take him off, like on aircraft.

Soon, third class in aircraft might be like the old subways: everyone crammed in and holding onto straps bolted into the roof.

I wonder how long before some CEO starts considering recaps for aircraft tires? Like truckers use. They already salvage and reuse electronics from wrecked aircraft. After the NTSB gets done scraping the bodies out and determining the cause of the crash, the companies start salvaging usable parts.

For me, the concept of battling my way through an over crowded terminal, having to watch ...


i.imgur.com
 
2013-10-15 02:26:37 PM
What is this "lack of legroom" that everyone speaks of?

/5'6"
 
2013-10-15 02:28:05 PM
Great - now I can't WAIT to see I get to experience this the next time I get to fly to Dubai.  As if 14 hrs in a plane weren't bad enough...
 
2013-10-15 02:29:08 PM
Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.
 
2013-10-15 02:33:21 PM

GBB: getting closer every day:
[blogs.smithsonianmag.com image 850x268]


They got free passage, why were they complaining?
 
2013-10-15 02:34:37 PM

lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.


Yeah it's not a good thing. I understand the geographical considerations in deploying HSR in the states as well as population density and willingness to ride, but it would be nice if one had a practical alternative to flying as publicly available mass transit between large cities.
 
2013-10-15 02:37:33 PM
I'm waiting for the plan where they drain our bodily fluids, freeze-dry what's left, stack us all on pallets and then re-hydrate when we reach our destination.
 
2013-10-15 02:47:55 PM

HiFiGuy: [imageshack.com image 800x600]

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???


Happy birthday! ...s?

And Eric Hexagon, if you've got so much money to be buying TF memberships, spread it around a bit.
 
2013-10-15 02:49:08 PM
Contrabulous Flabtraption:
img.fark.net

Yeah, when people talk about "just taking the train" the airlines just laugh and laugh. Then people talk about the bullet train and the laugh even harder.

Yeah airlines are not afraid of trains even for the people who have the time to take them.
 
2013-10-15 02:57:56 PM
At this point, can i consider it discrimination against the tall?
 
2013-10-15 02:58:47 PM
miss diminutive:

And yes, being able to fit into overhead compartments has its advantages as well. If there was a hide-and-seek world championships, we'd clean up.

youtomb.mit.edu
 
2013-10-15 03:00:21 PM

pedobearapproved: Contrabulous Flabtraption:
[img.fark.net image 303x542]

Yeah, when people talk about "just taking the train" the airlines just laugh and laugh. Then people talk about the bullet train and the laugh even harder.

Yeah airlines are not afraid of trains even for the people who have the time to take them.


In the northeast corridor, I find that it frequently takes me less time between BOS-NYC-DC to go by the Acela than by train... I can show up like 20 minutes before the train leaves, hop on, have a comfy seat, and be where I need to be in no time.... no hassle of baggage fees, giant security lines, or any of the other hassle that goes along with the airport. The plane itself may be faster, but once you tack on 2 hours on a busy weekday morning, flying can get pretty tedious. FWIW, Europes rail system works great as a replacement for short hop flights if you're ever over there, the rail stations are far more convienent, and its just an easier, better, cheaper trip.
 
2013-10-15 03:03:06 PM

spidermilk: miss diminutive: Air travel: one of the few times where being small serves as an advantage.

/the other being when your cruise ship beaches on an island full of cannibals

This is what I tell every tall person who glares at me on an airplane. That said, my favorite 'being short' advantage is that I'm great at hiding. Tiny cranny behind the washer? I fit there. Inside a cabinet? Here I go!

Plus you can always buy pants long enough- I can hem pants in about 10 minutes but no tall person can lengthen their too-short pants.


I only glare if you've grabbed the emergency exit row seat that has all the legroom
 
2013-10-15 03:05:00 PM

MythDragon: DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.

I'd take that over the time this *huge* lady I had to deal with. I was in the window seat and she had the middle. She waddles up and surveys the seats for a moment. After doing some calculations, she realizes Republicans have a better chance of voting to make all illegals automatic citizens than she does of fitting in that seat. What does she do? Just lifts my armrest out of the way, aims her ass in the general direction of the seat, and lets gravity take over whilst hoping for the best. She has now covered all over her seat and half of mine. My half that she has annexed? I'm still in it. Her fat-mass is now pinching the shiat out of my leg. Pushing up against her pork shoulder for leverage, I manage to extract my leg while hoping I won't suffer from crush syndrome. I am now jammed up into the wall of the aircraft with the other (non movable) armrest buried into my hip. She just looks at me, shrugs, and pulls out a box of swedish fish to enjoy as a pre-takeoff snack.

I page the air waitress and gesture to the property incursion I am suffering from. She says "Sorry, but the flight's full, there is no where else." I ask the lady "Shouldn't we at least send some people to the other side so that we don't spend the whole flight doing barrel rolls?" I get stink eye from both the air waitress and the fat lady. Fat lady says "It's a medical condition" I ask her "So the swedish fish must be a perscription then?" I didnt' make many friends that day. Thankfully it was only about an hour flight.

I wish the arm rests wouldn't move so fat people would be more or less contained to their assigned area. And I think I should get a refund for subsidizing her air travel.


I think that before you ask for a subsidy and before your next flight, you need to grow some balls big enough that you can hold the armrest down when she tried to lift it. And perhaps you should have been doing your calculations at the same time she was doing hers. And if your arms are so weak that they could not hold the armrest down as she was wrestling it from you, then perhaps you need to work on your arms, practice smacking/slapping in close quarters or carry pepper spray. I don't simpathize with you, keep waiting for prince charming, he will come for you... eventually.
 
2013-10-15 03:10:10 PM

firefly212: pedobearapproved: Contrabulous Flabtraption:
[img.fark.net image 303x542]

Yeah, when people talk about "just taking the train" the airlines just laugh and laugh. Then people talk about the bullet train and the laugh even harder.

Yeah airlines are not afraid of trains even for the people who have the time to take them.

In the northeast corridor, I find that it frequently takes me less time between BOS-NYC-DC to go by the Acela than by train... I can show up like 20 minutes before the train leaves, hop on, have a comfy seat, and be where I need to be in no time.... no hassle of baggage fees, giant security lines, or any of the other hassle that goes along with the airport. The plane itself may be faster, but once you tack on 2 hours on a busy weekday morning, flying can get pretty tedious. FWIW, Europes rail system works great as a replacement for short hop flights if you're ever over there, the rail stations are far more convienent, and its just an easier, better, cheaper trip.


Cheaper? Not necessarily, especially if you are taking the high speed options like ICE in Germany. Flight options like Ryanair and Easyjet are definitely no-frills cheap as fark airlines, but when I studied in Germany it was usually far cheaper for me to take local transit or shuttle bus to the cheaper airport than take trains the whole way. It was a lot cheaper for me to fly to Milan than it would have been to take the rail, and it wasn't even all that cheap to take the rail in country either. I had a DB50 card (half-fare for students) and it saved me 80 Euros off a trip from Freiburg to Munich. That trip alone almost paid for the card (~110 Euros).
 
2013-10-15 03:17:27 PM

HiFiGuy: [imageshack.com image 800x600]

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???


Why the heck are you still using Windows XP?
 
2013-10-15 03:20:19 PM

MythDragon: DoomPaul: The one time I didn't fly business/first class on a flight to London, I get stuck between two obese gentlemen who I thought were American but ended up being British. Their fat rolled onto the arm rests leaving me to keep my hands on the drop down tray the whole flight. It was miserable and I'd gladly pay for more room.

I don't hate fat people for their lifestyle choices but I'd prefer they stay at least 3 feet away from me at all times.

I'd take that over the time this *huge* lady I had to deal with. I was in the window seat and she had the middle. She waddles up and surveys the seats for a moment. After doing some calculations, she realizes Republicans have a better chance of voting to make all illegals automatic citizens than she does of fitting in that seat. What does she do? Just lifts my armrest out of the way, aims her ass in the general direction of the seat, and lets gravity take over whilst hoping for the best. She has now covered all over her seat and half of mine. My half that she has annexed? I'm still in it. Her fat-mass is now pinching the shiat out of my leg. Pushing up against her pork shoulder for leverage, I manage to extract my leg while hoping I won't suffer from crush syndrome. I am now jammed up into the wall of the aircraft with the other (non movable) armrest buried into my hip. She just looks at me, shrugs, and pulls out a box of swedish fish to enjoy as a pre-takeoff snack.

I page the air waitress and gesture to the property incursion I am suffering from. She says "Sorry, but the flight's full, there is no where else." I ask the lady "Shouldn't we at least send some people to the other side so that we don't spend the whole flight doing barrel rolls?" I get stink eye from both the air waitress and the fat lady. Fat lady says "It's a medical condition" I ask her "So the swedish fish must be a perscription then?" I didnt' make many friends that day. Thankfully it was only about an hour flight.

I wish the arm rests wouldn't move so fat people would be more or less contained to their assigned area. And I think I should get a refund for subsidizing her air travel.


Oh wow, I guess that's how Poland felt during WW2.
 
2013-10-15 03:28:23 PM
I like those new United Air commercials where they show the new business class section with the real comfy cubicle work areas.  Then I wonder how the rest sit and I am glad that I havent had to fly since 06. I do like flying but I hate the airlines and airports.
 
2013-10-15 03:38:12 PM

redmid17: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

Yeah it's not a good thing. I understand the geographical considerations in deploying HSR in the states as well as population density and willingness to ride, but it would be nice if one had a practical alternative to flying as publicly available mass transit between large cities.


Which the regressing GOP Teahadis will never accept. They're determined to take us back to 1870.
 
2013-10-15 03:46:38 PM
im 6'4" with long legs for my height i think.

just thinking about my flight to europe this winter makes my legs cramp up.
 
2013-10-15 03:46:55 PM
I'm pretty sure air tran has the new seats now.  Had to fly them last week and the seats were noticeably different...less padding in the seat & seat back.  I fly quite a bit and this was one of the least comfortable seats I've been in, and I'm not overweight by a long shot.
 
2013-10-15 03:57:27 PM

lohphat: redmid17: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

Yeah it's not a good thing. I understand the geographical considerations in deploying HSR in the states as well as population density and willingness to ride, but it would be nice if one had a practical alternative to flying as publicly available mass transit between large cities.

Which the regressing GOP Teahadis will never accept. They're determined to take us back to 1870.


Not ironically realizing the large push for country-wide rail systems at the time either I am sure.
 
2013-10-15 04:24:42 PM
You want better seating? Fewer fees? Nicer service?

Pay more than $418 for a round trip ticket from Seattle to New Orleans.

As always, articles complaining about poor service or check-in fees fails to take into account that the profit margins for airlines are extremely low. Employee costs are extremely high and the public demands ultra-low rates. You can not have low prices, great service, and well paid employees. You can have 2 out of the 3.
 
2013-10-15 04:27:42 PM
I just wish they'd put in bunks. Laying down and stretched out would be a good way to go.
 
2013-10-15 04:32:21 PM

firefly212: In the northeast corridor, I find that it frequently takes me less time between BOS-NYC-DC to go by the Acela than by train


Not coincidentally considering that from what I can tell the Acela line actually has a really good reputation, the northeast corridor track is actually mostly owned by Amtrak. This contrasts with most of the rest of the country where Amtrak generally leases time from freight companies that own the rail, and as a result freight trains have priority and so if Amtrak misses a window where it has the schedule, it has to wait quite some time for the track to clear again. In my limited experience (riding Amtrack all of twice from Chicago to PA) and understanding, this is one of the big problems with Amtrak scheduling.
 
2013-10-15 05:17:59 PM

SneakyBorisberg: You can not have low prices, great service, and well paid employees. You can have 2 out of the 3.



Guess the employees should take a pay cut then.
That's how it works, right?
 
2013-10-15 05:51:43 PM

cyks: SneakyBorisberg: You can not have low prices, great service, and well paid employees. You can have 2 out of the 3.


Guess the employees should take a pay cut then.
That's how it works, right?


I guess you missed the rest of the comment:
Pay more than $418 for a round trip ticket from Seattle to New Orleans.
 
2013-10-15 05:55:02 PM

BillTheCat: 6'6", tree fiddy here.  God blessed me with the physical presence of a small apartment building.  So I am completely and inexorably f*cked if I ever wanted to fly anywhere.

I actually think that I would PREFER the "semi-standing" seats that were pictured above.  I would gladly half-lean against a seatback for 2 hours than be physically wedged into a standard airline seat, where I and the persons beside, in front of, and behind me would be miserable as well.


No, you're a lucky bastard.

You see, us mere large people (6'4", broad shoulders, TALL torso to where my shoulders are above the seatback,  300 295.8, the first time I've been below 300 since 2010) get to squeeze in.  Which sucks (Seriously, for any flight longer than 3 hours, I deliberately get layovers just so I can stretch out).    But according to a 6'6" friend, you get to buy the smallest seat possible (He recommends Spirit Airlines which for us normals is *just* the wrong side of hell on earth), demonstrate that "No, I totally don't fit because my bones are longer than your seat back" and get a free upgrade to first class about half the time.
 
2013-10-15 07:01:31 PM

lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.


You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.
 
2013-10-15 07:19:07 PM

washington-babylon: HiFiGuy: [imageshack.com image 800x600]

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???

Why the heck are you still using Windows XP?


Why am I still using a custom application written for Access 97?

/I don't even want to mention why one of our systems requires us to use PC Anywhere 6 for DOS.
//Okay, it's because of embedded systems we need to access that aren't getting updated.
///Probably also why I drag my MacBook Pro to work.
 
2013-10-15 08:55:17 PM

Bandito King: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.


Let's be fair.

Because America decided in the 1950's that the suburbs were awesome, everyone should have a yard,  and that highways should go fast, the train won't work for short distance better than a car.

First:
* "Walkable neighborhood" and "having a front yard" (or for that matter, "having my own house") don't go together.  They can't.  You need too many stores to be within too short of a distance to have anything less than NYC-level densities AND be able to get away with not having a car.  Heck, almost everyone I know in SF eventually gave in and bought a car for getting around.
* As an extra note: Mass transit is super-slow.  I did the math once, and the NYC subway goes like 13 MPH on local routes.  Seriously, it's just BAD.  AND you add the 10 minutes on each end where you're walking (at 3 MPH) to/from the station and then sitting there for a bit (up to an hour) waiting for the train to come, and you've just created a super-long commute as well as a complete uselessness as far as errands are concerned.
* So just out of sheer frustration, a lot of people end up getting a car (Zipcar has pushed this point further out, but it's still there).  If you want to fix that, make the buses come more than once an hour and go faster than 5 MPH, make the light rail go faster than 8 MPH, and make the train come more than once an hour.  Oh, and having a couple of late-night trains means that people who go in early/work late won't be driving in because they literally can't transit out.

So we've established that the VAST majority of Americans who don't live in NYC will have a car for some purpose.  They might almost never, ever use it (I take the train 6 miles to work because a 40 minute end-to-end commute is faster than dealing with the Palo Alto bullshiat and drive total maybe 2x a week), but they will have one for some purpose (groceries, weekends, occasional need for a trunk).  And even for the ones who don't, if their long trip is long enough, they're willing to get a car

So for long trips (1-500 miles, though I just did a 1400 mile trip up to Lassen, Crater Lake, and Redwood National Parks, and back):

* My car lets me get to where I want to go when I want to go there how I want to go there with any cool stops along the way.  Your train hooks me into your schedule (And based on what I've seen, your schedule is crap), your limited train tracks, and your very limited train stations.
* My car goes 60.  Honestly, it goes 85 because Michigan cops are AWESOME, but because it stops for gas/bathroom, we'll call it 60.  If you can't average 60 straight line first station - last station, (much less door-to-door), you're not even in the discussion.
* The train can't get you to your destination (unless you're going right into downtown, have access to further transit to get you the rest of the way, or you have access to a car on the other end at which point you might as well drive)
* It also can't get you directly from your nice suburban home (And while there are some issues with this, actually having a yard was really, really nice growing up).
* Your train doesn't let me bring a trunkful of luggage (And given that about half of my family's vacations were going to G-ma's cottage in the woods for 2 weeks, and most of the rest were weeklong "Faff about the UP" trips, that was important).
* The local commuter train (literally runs outside my window, station's a 10 minute walk that way AND a 10 minute walk from my apartment) only comes once an hour (2x an hour during rush hour).  So if I miss the train, I'm stuck waiting an hour.  And the entire route (much less the 8-12 minute long segment that I use) is only an hour long if I drive.  So fark that noise.

The Swiss have great trains for their very small country, but the Swiss cheat.  They stuck everyone in small, narrow, linear mountain valleys (or sufficiently dense cities), where trains excel and where you can't cut the corner with your car.  Americans scattered out across the great emptiness of the Midwest, Great Plains, and Mountain West and made it almost impossible to serve the multitudes of possible routes with reasonable non-bank-breaking mass transit.  (Also, bring up the GM Streetcar conspiracy and the fact that we spent 13% of GDP on the military for the 1950's and then shifted it all over into welfare payments when we dropped military spending down to 4% without stopping off and rebuilding the infrastructure).

On the other hand, trains can't work for long-distance better than planes.  There's 2 big problems for using trains in the USA.

1) The big empty.  There's this big, more or less totally empty bit from ~1 state west of the Mississippi to basically the Pacific Coast.  Even with an average 200 MPH bullet train, it's still going to take all damn day to get across it (And honestly, the Pacific Coast isn't all that good.  It's the developed bits from Seattle to Portland/Eugene, 15 hours of nothing (at car speeds), SF, 5 more hours of nothing (ditto), and then LA/SD).  So you have this massive need for 500MPH airplanes and airplane infrastructure so that you can GET from NYC to LA in less than 2 days.  And once you've created this massive network of planes to get you from the Left Coast to the NorthEast and Midwest, you might as well use:

2) Network effects.

* If I build a rail station, I can get to other rail stations that are on my line. If I need to transfer, I transfer at a hub (at which point, for any trip where a plane isn't the obvious way to go, I'm willing to bet that my 60 MPH car can cut the angle on your 200 MPH train especially given the previously-noted problems with the last-mileand required transfer times).  The airlines get away with this model, but they only get away with this model by going 5x as fast as any other mode of transit and trusting that only being 3x as fast once you add in layover times is just good enough.

* If I build an airport, I can get to any other airport in the world.  So if we're building all these East Coast airports anyways, why not link them up?  And at that point, even with the couple of hours of bullshiat that you have to deal with at the airport, NYC to Detroit in 2 hours (6 hours total door-to-door including airportbullshiat) just isn't beatable. And 8 hours door-to-door SF - Detroit  (11 if I take mass transit on the SF end AND do a layover) isn't even in the picture.And as a super-bonus: I don't have every single little podunk town along my route either screaming for a station (thus requiring my "200 MPH" train to stop every 20 minutes and actually average significantly less than that) or being NIMBY'S and screaming about my super-fast loud train going nearby their quaint little downtown.

And go look at the midwest.  Throw in the large/mid-sized cities and you don't have a line, you have a spiderweb (and if you don't, my car cuts the corner and I'm back in my evil, evil car).  Which you have to build and maintain and schedule sufficient trains down every route.  And if you want to tie into the Northeast, you're building multiple routes over the Appalachians (Have fun with that) while running up fairly hard against the limits of 200 MPH trains vs. 500 MPH airplanes.

Now with that said, Rail can work for limited, mid-range,  linear routes.  NE Corridor, NW corridor, possibly California, maybe some of the Midwest using Chicago as a hub (and acknowledging that my car can totally cut your corner (especially since all trains from Detroit stage through Chicago, including the ones that head east)), and some smaller, more local areas like Florida and Texas where you have major, major cities just a couple of hours apart.    You just have to acknowledge that it's caught between the jaws of convenient cars and fast airplanes.
 
2013-10-15 09:02:04 PM

Bandito King: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.


The plane companies definitely weren't. To say flying was a rich man's game back in the 40s is somewhat of an understatement.

Companies like GM and Standard Oil literally bought fronting companies to purchase municipal rail and shut them down.
 
2013-10-15 09:03:51 PM

meyerkev: Bandito King: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.

Let's be fair.

Because America decided in the 1950's that the suburbs were awesome, everyone should have a yard,  and that highways should go fast, the train won't work for short distance better than a car.

tl;r


All of this comes screeching to a halt with $6-9/gal gasoline.

HSR makes the most sense between destinations of
 
2013-10-15 09:05:52 PM

lohphat: meyerkev: Bandito King: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.

Let's be fair.

Because America decided in the 1950's that the suburbs were awesome, everyone should have a yard,  and that highways should go fast, the train won't work for short distance better than a car.

tl;r

All of this comes screeching to a halt with $6-9/gal gasoline.

HSR makes the most sense between destinations of

less than 500 miles.

/damned HTML parser
 
2013-10-15 09:11:42 PM

redmid17: Companies like GM and Standard Oil literally bought fronting companies to purchase municipal rail and shut them down.


Partially.

The most famous case was that of the Pacif Electric in LA. The world's largest metropolitan rail network at 2300 miles of track.

THe fact was economics did it -- no need for a GM conspiracy.

The PE was not a public utility -- it was a private service with right-of-way leases built by Henry Huntington (after which Huntington Beach is named) as a way to market real estate in the nascent LA basin. Once the population expanded and cars and fuel were cheap, the trains were slowed down once the number of grade crossings increased.

It was sold off because it had served its purpose. Yes, in retrospect it was a stupid move. LA needs a regional rail system and now the land is too expensive to get back.

Contrast that with London where they built a frikkin tunnel under London to allow the Eurostar to get down town quickly.

Today in the US -- that would be labeled as communist socialisms!

Progress and modern technology is for commies!

We're being dragged back to 1870 by morons.
 
2013-10-15 09:54:34 PM

lohphat: All of this comes screeching to a halt with $6-9/gal gasoline.

HSR makes the most sense between destinations of less than 500 miles.


This is true.  But then you still haven't solved the last mile problem.

Well, ok, you have.  It's called forcing people into very tiny, VERY expensive apartments close to downtown so that they can walk to all the stores, and get to work in less than 3 hours on their 8 MPH light rail.

Personally, I think that if that happened:

1) Since it'd be the single greatest drop in living standards in American History (big house -> shiatty, even more expensive apartment (And yes it'd be more expensive.  I live in TOD, and it's about $500/month more now, before you force people to move than going an extra half mile away.  And the really nice places across the street between me and the train station start at $3K/month for a 1 BR and go up to $6.5K for a 2 BR just to save a 5 minute walk) as well as doubling people's commute costs), people would riot.
2) Since you couldn't convince people to just use the train for everything (and you can't.  Trust me.  I'm a 5-10 minute walk away and I don't take it for anything outside of going to work.  It's too inconvenient.), we'd shift over to electric cars really fast.  Electricity is cheap, the sheer infrastructure cost would convince everyone to solve the infrastructure and charging problems (because if you listen, the problems all basically boil down to: "I have better things to do than sit there while it charges (and I live in an apartment and use street parking so I'd need a dedicated fast charger somewhere)" and "There are no chargers near me"), and then we could ride the decreasing cost of electricity back into $4/gallon or less equivalent days.
3) How would "The Big Empty" work?  There's a lot of places in this country that you CANNOT reach without a car.  The entire state of Michigan is basically the car-dependent Detroit suburbs (and blame Detroit for actively kicking out rich people so that there is no urban core to provide density for mass transit to filter into), and the places that the middle-class suburbanites own cottages in that it's functionally impossible to get reasonable mass transit to.  And that's Michigan.  How's Wyoming supposed to work at all on any fundamental level?  Or West Texas, the only place that I've seen driveways from people's houses exit onto the interstate?  If you screw over Michigan, you destroy the ability of teachers to own second and third homes.  If you take out Wyoming, well, there goes the entire state.

/Or as it's otherwise called, Europe.
 
2013-10-15 09:57:22 PM

HiFiGuy: washington-babylon: HiFiGuy: [imageshack.com image 800x600]

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???

Why the heck are you still using Windows XP?

Why am I still using a custom application written for Access 97?

/I don't even want to mention why one of our systems requires us to use PC Anywhere 6 for DOS.
//Okay, it's because of embedded systems we need to access that aren't getting updated.
///Probably also why I drag my MacBook Pro to work.


Ah. I see. So I am guessing Financial sector or Healthcare. I am quite familiar with both of those industries' reluctance to try anything new.

/I feel your pain.
//And I also feel for the poor IT guys who gaze longingly at new equipment before going back to support your company's stuff.
///I work in Print Mail, so I see a fair amount of ancient stuff too.
 
2013-10-15 11:43:33 PM

meyerkev: * My car goes 60. Honestly, it goes 85 because Michigan cops are AWESOME, but because it stops for gas/bathroom, we'll call it 60. If you can't average 60 straight line first station - last station, (much less door-to-door), you're not even in the discussion.


As much as I'd like to see it and have complained about Amtrak's speed (or more to the point, lack thereof) upthread, I think that's too demanding relative to driving. Time spent on the train is a lot more open in the sense you can do whatever than time spent in the car. You can read a book, maybe surf the internet (I dunno if Amtrak has wi-fi), play games, do work, etc.; if your work can travel with you, you might even count transportation time as being almost free because you can spend it doing things you need to do anyway. On a more local level, I have a commute at the job I've just started that would probably be about 45 minutes by bus and 20-30 by car (depending on if I hit rush hour), but I plan on bussing most of the times because of exactly that reason: I can do stuff on the bus besides "make sure I don't hit anything."

For trips that would be overnight by car, you make out even better because even if the train is going 40, it's doing it all day.

meyerkev: * Your train doesn't let me bring a trunkful of luggage (And given that about half of my family's vacations were going to G-ma's cottage in the woods for 2 weeks, and most of the rest were weeklong "Faff about the UP" trips, that was important).


At least when I road, Amtrak's baggage was quite generous; certainly enough to last you for the cottage trips unless you pack even heavier than I do, and possibly good enough for the UP trip. (I'm guessing that needed camping gear?)

meyerkev: Even with an average 200 MPH bullet train, it's still going to take all damn day to get across it


On the other hand -- if that 200 MPH train existed, I would seriously consider just riding it there and back to be a pretty neat trip in and of itself, at least if they chose a nice route through the rockies.

lohphat: HSR makes the most sense between destinations of less than 500 miles.


I would go higher; closer to 1000 miles. I'm not sure exactly where the cutoff is. Basically, if it's a distance where I could make it within a day (like "morning-to-night" day, not 24-hr day) by train and was comparable in price to flying ad the same comfort as Amtrak is today, I'd do that over flying without batting an eye. More and things start to become fuzzier, but those definitely aren't hard constraints.

meyerkev: This is true. But then you still haven't solved the last mile problem.


Planes have the last mile problem too. At least for me, the TSA and terrible seats have done far more to turn me off of flying than the last mile problem. Speed up trains 50% or something and I think that opens up a significant potential for taking over transit from planes where the train still would get you there fast enough (especially for vacation-type trips instead of business trips) but is sooo much nicer than flying that it's the more appealing option.
 
2013-10-15 11:49:16 PM

evaned: Time spent on the train is a lot more open in the sense you can do whatever than time spent in the car. You can read a book, maybe surf the internet (I dunno if Amtrak has wi-fi), play games, do work, etc.; if your work can travel with you, you might even count transportation time as being almost free because you can spend it doing things you need to do anyway. On a more local level, I have a commute at the job I've just started that would probably be about 45 minutes by bus and 20-30 by car (depending on if I hit rush hour), but I plan on bussing most of the times because of exactly that reason: I can do stuff on the bus besides "make sure I don't hit anything."



This is the reason I take MARTA, Atlanta's train system, to work everyday rather than drive.  I don't save any time on MARTA---I don't lose any, either---but the time I spend on MARTA is far more pleasant than the time spent driving.  I can read fark, listen to music, read a paper.  Plus, the cost of an unrestricted one month MARTA pass is the same as one tank of gasoline.
 
2013-10-16 12:11:51 AM
i.imgur.com
 
2013-10-16 05:51:58 AM
blog.ctnews.com
media.treehugger.com
 
2013-10-16 08:13:02 AM
No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.

But God forbid we request that airlines rid of reclining seats!


Exactly! Please don't eliminate the one iota of comfort we are allowed.
 
2013-10-16 10:12:46 AM

washington-babylon: HiFiGuy: washington-babylon: HiFiGuy: [imageshack.com image 800x600]

Who told them what headlines I was looking at???

Why the heck are you still using Windows XP?

Why am I still using a custom application written for Access 97?

/I don't even want to mention why one of our systems requires us to use PC Anywhere 6 for DOS.
//Okay, it's because of embedded systems we need to access that aren't getting updated.
///Probably also why I drag my MacBook Pro to work.

Ah. I see. So I am guessing Financial sector or Healthcare. I am quite familiar with both of those industries' reluctance to try anything new.

/I feel your pain.
//And I also feel for the poor IT guys who gaze longingly at new equipment before going back to support your company's stuff.
///I work in Print Mail, so I see a fair amount of ancient stuff too.


Yup. Now off to buy a 56k modem for a client.

/$65-90?! Seriously??!!
//Actually, we do electric meter reading.
///Ethernet = $60/month fixed IP connection; phone = $35/month. So, there's that.
 
2013-10-16 10:48:59 AM

meyerkev: BillTheCat: 6'6", tree fiddy here.  God blessed me with the physical presence of a small apartment building.  So I am completely and inexorably f*cked if I ever wanted to fly anywhere.

I actually think that I would PREFER the "semi-standing" seats that were pictured above.  I would gladly half-lean against a seatback for 2 hours than be physically wedged into a standard airline seat, where I and the persons beside, in front of, and behind me would be miserable as well.

No, you're a lucky bastard.

You see, us mere large people (6'4", broad shoulders, TALL torso to where my shoulders are above the seatback,  300 295.8, the first time I've been below 300 since 2010) get to squeeze in.  Which sucks (Seriously, for any flight longer than 3 hours, I deliberately get layovers just so I can stretch out).     But according to a 6'6" friend, you get to buy the smallest seat possible (He recommends Spirit Airlines which for us normals is *just* the wrong side of hell on earth), demonstrate that "No, I totally don't fit because my bones are longer than your seat back" and get a free upgrade to first class about half the time.


How I know this isn't real: Spirit does not have first class.
 
2013-10-16 09:14:44 PM

doubled99: No, no, no. It's not the airlines-it's those evil farks who recline their seat all the way back.

But God forbid we request that airlines rid of reclining seats!

Exactly! Please don't eliminate the one iota of comfort we are allowed.


Fark that, give me those sleep compartments like in The Fifth Element. I HATE airline seats, they're almost as bad as movie theaters.

/back injuries suck.
 
2013-10-16 10:31:45 PM

meyerkev: Bandito King: lohphat: Contrabulous Flabtraption:

17+ hours CHI to DC?

Europe/Japan/Chinese HSR is laughing at us.

You don't remember all the derp about "america is a driving country" and "domestic railroads could never work here the way they work every other place on the planet"?

Auto/plane industries were probably not dumping a huge amount of money into the anti-train ranting.

Let's be fair....


Being fair takes a lot of typing, it seems. I can't commit to answering all your points. I will say that you seem to value speed a great deal more than I do. I value comfort and health. Which is why I walk most places, even in the city, and bike if I need to travel longer distances. So when you say I could take maybe a 3 or 4 hour plane ride from LA to NY or whatever, I immediately picture the squalid conditions that I would have to tolerate for those hours. Not to mention the preflight bullshiat which is almost enough to be a dealbreaker by itself. When you say 2 days on a train, I picture a mini-vacation with a bed and some liquor and maybe a hot stranger.

I would prefer the train. Yes, I know about business travelers and deadlines. I think it's a sad way to live your life but if it makes people happy...

As for suburbs and everyone having a lawn and so on, Nevada has discovered to their chagrin that that is a stupid conceit of privileged people. Not everyone who wants a house wants to take up a second job (or an employee) maintaining a yard. Not everyone who does have a yard should have a yard either, there is some degree of environmental impact from fertilizer, weed-killer, grass pollen (it really is an issue in some places); not to mention the people who just wind up with big lots of dead grass and sunflowers.

You are absolutely right about the giant middle section of the country that is boring and largely uninhabited. But there's a reason that's already referred to as "flyover country" so I don't think it's a big deal if their train coverage is as lacking as their major airports.

Anyways, all arguments about the inefficiency of trains seems to be predicated on US trains... which are not good trains.

I did a quick google maps search for LA to NY distance. It's 2,790 miles. They seem to think the drive could be done in 1 day 16 hours. I assume that includes a bevy of backup drivers. Planes would generally be several hours for the same trip, particularly with layovers (which I never seem to be able to afford avoiding).

This here is a nekomimi train: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fastech_360

It's a very good train. It's operating speed is about 200 mph. (A little less) So if we assume it has to travel the same distance as a car (not necessarily true) then it could make the trip iiiiiin... about 14 hours. You could bring bottled water onboard, because why the fark not? No one would cup your balls while you are waiting in line. No HOPING there's enough room for all the baggage because rearranging the seats on an aircraft doesn't increase the size of the overhead bins. No need to be crushed, touching, slept on, nudged, spilled on, breathed on, or made sick by the horrible monster seated theoretically next to you but practically in your lap. Just cruise along for fourteen hours with your legs stretched out sipping a bourbon and ice and maybe take a walk from car to car and grab a bite to eat.

Again, while you're technically right that it's somewhat faster to take the plane, the train is waaaaaay faster than the car for long distances and not nearly as slow as you seem to think. Plus airlines and their product are still shiat. Train lines are probably run by similar assholes but at least they have some concept of value besides "it's the quickest by 5 hours!"

Oh, all the stuff you said about light rail and subways, you should also be looking to other nations for examples of good underground systems. The US hasn't got many decent examples.
 
2013-10-16 10:53:43 PM
I like the Kyoto mass transit system, as an example. Most people ride bikes but there are enough cars to create light traffic conditions here and there. It's a very large city, nestled in a kind of bowl made out of mountains with a big river that splits several times running directly through the city. Not only do the buses run until about midnight, but they arrive about every 35 minutes. The trains are on a similar schedule, with both regular lines and express lines - meaning that if you need to quickly get from one side of the city (or prefecture) to another, you can do so without stopping every couple of miles.

It works extremely well, is much more affordable in the long-term than a car that costs thousands of dollars, years of insurance payments, and that we all know is planned for obsolescence in ten years or less, AND it's a much nicer use of your time than driving, like other posters said. (Although I still suggest you take a bike, the hills can be rough on the outskirts of town but there are some amazing shrines hidden down alleys. Also: bars. Bars everywhere.)

Whenever you see a limousine, I encourage you to consider it a vote in favor of public transport. Because whoever is in the back of it recognizes that if you can afford it, it's worth having someone else do your driving for you.
 
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