ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story

TRAVEL WATCH: FEBRUARY 28, 2000 VOL. 155 NO. 8

Squeezing the Most Out of Economy Seats
By DAFFYD RODERICK

The jerk in front of you keeps bouncing backwards in his fully-reclined seat, jamming the seatback into your kneecaps. The frustrated chain-smoker on your left growls every time you lean on the armrest. The passenger on your right constantly reaches under her seat and rummages through her carry-on bag. More and more, such are the perils of business travel across Asia-Pacific. According to the International Air Transport Association, more than 70% of business travelers in the region now fly economy class on both short and long-haul flights. And if you've ever been assigned the dreaded middle/middle (middle seat in the center row) on a long-haul flight, you know how dire a fate that can be.

Lack of space defines the economy-class experience. You can bring your own water and some favorite snacks, but you can't bring your recliner. Seat pitch--the distance between a given point on one seat and the same point on the next--varies from airline to airline, but the industry standard is a miserly 78 cm. The space has shrunk nearly 10 cm in the past decade as airlines jammed seats together and added extra rows to save on costs. Charter airlines and others packed seats even closer, as tight as 70 cm. (Some airlines--such as United, British Airways and Virgin--do offer an upscale economy seat with more legroom.) The cramped conditions aren't merely uncomfortable: some doctors say they can be downright dangerous. Lack of mobility can cause blood circulation to your legs to drop by 50%, allowing possibly fatal blood clots to form in your under-stimulated legs.

    ALSO IN TIME
Squeezing the Most Out of Economy Seats
When it comes to comfort, not all aircraft are created equal

Web Crawling
Lani "the Baglady" Teshima's site tells how to pack everything you need into a carry-on bag

Hot Deals
Asian Trails is offering an eight-day driving tour from northern Thailand to Laos

Off the Shelf
What we eat is a matter less of taste than of habit, history and circumstance

So how is a working stiff to survive? Knowing your enemy can help. When it comes to comfort, not all aircraft are created equal. Among narrow-body planes, the Airbus A 320 offers the most space. Its cabin is 17 cm wider than that of the Boeing 737, and the extra room translates into slightly wider seats and center aisle. Wide-body aircraft are obviously more spacious. But just because a jet is larger doesn't mean your seat will be more comfortable. The 747's economy class, for instance, is usually laid out in a 3-4-3 configuration, which means that four seats in every row are middle seats. The smaller 767 is laid out in a 2-3-2, which means only one seat per row is a middle seat. The 777 is generally acknowledged to be the most luxurious of the wide bodies; its coach seats, with 48 cm of space between the armrests, are wider than most.

Booking the right seat can also make a difference. Bulkhead seats--those behind the dividers between different cabins--offer much greater legroom and no seatbacks to fill your lap. Emergency-exit-row seats offer similar advantages. Assignments to avoid include the non-reclining seats placed in front of the emergency-exit row on some aircraft, and seats toward the back of the MD-80 and the DC-10, where rear-mounted engines can be deafening.

Airlines tend to reserve the best seats for frequent flyers and travelers paying full-fare economy, so it's important to stick with one airline or one alliance in order to build up status. Landing a specific seat or an upgrade is more likely if the airline knows you are a regular customer. Most corporate travel policies restrict what class you fly in, but not the carrier you choose. If your travel manager complains that this all sounds like a lot of work, gently remind him or her about the blood clots.

Travel Watch Archive | TIME Asia Home
ASIANOW Travel Home

AsiaNow


Quick Scroll: More stories from TIME Travel Watch

   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.