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FA Union President Calls Economy a “Torture Chamber”

FA Union President Calls Economy a “Torture Chamber”
Jennifer Billock

Regular passengers aren’t the only ones who have issues with the way economy seating in planes is set up—even the president of a flight attendants union has likened the economy cabin seating to torture chambers, saying there’s no way it would be feasible to evacuate passengers during an incident of any kind.

On Wednesday, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants Lori Bassani spoke to the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee at a congressional hearing in an effort to change problems with the FAA’s standards and procedures. And just like all of us, she wasn’t happy about the seats, likening flying in economy class to being in a torture chamber.

“We find that the seats are not only getting smaller, but there’s no padding on them anymore,” Bassani said, reported by FOX News. “It is a torture chamber for our customers and for us, that also fly on our own airlines.”

Bassani noted that the cramped space on planes doesn’t allow passengers to follow proper protocol during emergencies, including an inability to assume the brace positions because the seats are too close together.

“The truth is that many passengers are older, larger, and in many cases have less mobility,” she said. “Can you imagine in a stressful situation trying to evacuate in a real-life scenario? Passengers from a plane that is burning, or that is, you know, half-tilted, or upside-down. Listen, these people are having a hard enough time… getting in and out in a normal process, but in an evacuation, it’s going to be almost impossible.”


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

View Comments (9)


  1. skidooman

    July 24, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    She’s 100% right.

    She should also have talked about incidents of air rages, many of which are probably provoked in part by the tightness of quarters.

    Sorry, but there should be a government mandate on minimal space. If it means less passengers and higher fares, then so be it. This has become a health hazard.

  2. Sydneyberlin

    July 24, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    What a blurb when you read and hear about evacuations all the time when passengers get out faster than you’d think, especially given you always have some morons who simply don’t listen and hold everyone up by grabbing their hand luggage and so on. If you don’t like the limited space in cattle class, do what I do and buy a seat up the front or at least pay a bit extra for an extra leg room seat. All this whinge from the cheap seats is just annoying, quite frankly.

  3. horseymike

    July 24, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    100 % correct.

  4. pagophilus

    July 25, 2019 at 12:25 am

    People need to get over it. Yes, 29 inch pitch on a 9 abreast A330 may be a torture chamber but usually economy is fine. If you’re too large, pay for space. I’d say for most who need to pay for space it’s self inflicted.

    Oh, and people need to stop being precious. Recline after meals is fine. The airline is there to make money and I’m there to give them as little as I can. If I can find a nice balance in there I’ll be happy.

  5. sfoeuroflyer

    July 25, 2019 at 6:25 am

    There is no free lunch. Too many members of the flying public insist on bargain basement fares. Super cheap means lots of cramped seats. You can’t have super cheap and generous room. It’s that simple. Does anyone remember how AA failed with its campaign “more room throughout coach”. People chose cheaper cramped alternatives rather than AA’s more room. What is distressing is the call for government to step in and mandate more room. That will mean higher fares. Trouble is the people calling for government decrees deny the existence of the rules of economics.

  6. KRSW

    July 25, 2019 at 8:09 am

    If they wanted to do something about the hand luggage issue, make checked bags free and charge for carry-ons. It’d speed up turn-around time as well.

  7. polinka

    July 25, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Conditions can be very bad, for sure. But “torture chamber”? Let’s be realistic. There is still such a thing as real torture in the world.

  8. Oxnardjan

    July 26, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Flying today is the Greyhound of the skies in economy.

  9. BOBAD

    August 11, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Regarding economy seats: The phrase “cheap and cheerful” is inaccurate – it should be: “cheap and nasty” or “expensive and cheerful”……

    If you want more room then be prepared to pay for it and stop with the whining.

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