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We Thought the Seats Were Getting Smaller

U.S. FAA Confirms that Passengers are Getting Plumper.

(5/15/2003) It's official. The U.S. Government has declared that, on the average, the flying public is significantly fatter than it was just ten years ago.

The Federal Flight Administration (FAA) - the people who make the rules governing flight in the U.S.A. have ordered some aircraft operators to add an extra 10 pounds in calculating the weight for each passenger and another 5 pounds in estimating passenger baggage. That means that the airlines now think you weigh 190 pounds (86.3 kilograms) and that your checked and carry on luggage total 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms).

The change was declared necessary when investigators reviewing the crash last January of a U.S. commuter airline determined that overloading caused by underestimating the passenger load may have contributed to that fatal crash.

While we're grudgingly prepared to concede that the FAA may have a point, we still feel that some airlines really are making their seats smaller. For instance, was it purely coincidental that on a certain domestic carrier in Australia we saw the flight stewardesses using a shoe horn to help a passengers into his seat?

We are also more than a little baffled on the need for that extra 5 pounds in calculating baggage weight. Are generously proportioned passengers carrying along secret hoards of chocolates and junk food to consume while in flight?