A Pitch to be Put on Par with Sar­dines

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Even the num­ber of sar­dines in a can is de­pen­dent on the di­men­sions of the re­cep­ta­cle. But not so pas­sen­gers in com­mer­cial air­craft, though hu­man be­ings are con­sid­er­ably larger and more im­por­tant — at least in our own es­ti­ma­tion — than small fry. Which is why it is cu­ri­ous that it has taken so long for the mat­ter to come to court (in the US, in this case) and for a judge to de­mand a relook at the cu­ri­ous mat­ter of the “in­cred­i­ble shrink­ing air­line seat”. It would make sense to fit in more seats, with a nar­rower width and less pitch if hu­mans were also in sim­i­lar shrink mode. But the truth is quite the op­po­site. Hu­mans are grow­ing apace both ver­ti­cally and lat­er­ally; ac­cord­ing to some es­ti­mates, the av­er­age woman to­day weighs as much as a man did 50 years ago, and is al­most as tall too. Add to that the air­lines’ goal of fit­ting in more and more pas­sen­gers into cab­ins, even the al­lu­sion to a fi­nite num­ber of de­cap­i­tated, evis­cer­ated and cooked sar­dines in a can be­comes in­ap­pli­ca­ble. More­over, as sar­dines have no rea­son (or abil­ity) to exit cans speed­ily and safely in case of emer­gency but pas­sen­gers may, clearly, there has to be some space-to-hu­man ra­tio for air­craft cab­ins as for items in cans. Hope­fully, US and other na­tions’ air­line reg­u­la­tors will step in to en­sure that hu­mans are put on par with sar­dines at least.

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