Money & Business

Tuesday Buzz: The Cramped Airline Seat Blues

By / Sep 8, 2015 (Photodisc/Thinkstock)

A consumer advocacy group calls for a standard airline seat size—with the help of 30,000 friends. Also: how associations can help fight the internal critic.

Do airline seats feel like they’re missing some leg room? At least 30,000 people say they do.

Those people were signatories of a petition from the advocacy group FlyersRights.org to the Federal Aviation Administration asking the agency to put a moratorium on shrinking seat sizes and create a panel that would decide on a minimum seat size, according to the Los Angeles Times. The FAA has promised to review the petition.

“Seat size and passenger space is generally unregulated and has resulted in aggressive reduction in size, leg room, aisle width, [and] recliner pitch by airlines to increase revenue by squeezing in more passengers and adding new seat fees,” the group writes in its proposed Airline Passenger Bill of Rights 2.0, which was released Tuesday.

The petition comes as a consumer advisory board, to which FlyersRights.org belongs, asked for clarity on the same issue, though it did not ask for a standard seat size. The airline industry, through its trade group Airlines for America (A4A), has generally opposed seat standardization, saying the market should determine such things.

One space-related issue on which consumer groups and A4A see eye to eye is carry-ons. The airline group became a noted opponent of a plan to standardize carry-on-bag sizes that was proposed by the International Air Transport Association back in June. IATA eventually had to bag that plan due to public outcry in the U.S., where carry-on space is slightly larger than in the rest of the world.

Turn off the Internal Critic

As great as associations can be, they sometimes unintentionally have a negative effect on their members—by enabling the internal critic to take hold, warns Amanda Kaiser of Smooth the Path.

If in the wrong mindset, a member may feel left out or feel like the “other” when interacting with his or her association, even though that’s not the organization’s intention. The negative seed can sink in and undo much of the work of a positive seed.

“Associations can build members up or associations can tear members down,” writes Kaiser. “I don’t think we think about our work, our interactions with members, or our benefits in this way. So it is worthwhile to talk about this with the board, with the whole staff, and with members.”

Kaiser says organizations need to do more to fight these negative urges so that the positive wins out.

Other Links of Note

In the market for a new iPhone? Wait until tomorrow, when Apple reveals its latest product line. The company is expected to announce a bunch of other stuff as well, possibly including an iPad Pro.

Employee engagement software has a better chance of being effective if your employees are younger, says SocialFish‘s Maddie Grant.

“Benefits are only impressive if what you’re getting for free is of value to you.” Over at Frank J. Kenny’s blog, guest blogger Christina Green highlights the difference between a must-have benefit and a nice-to-have one.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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