Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
There are times in your life when you need to know who cares.
This is particularly true when it comes to your relationship with airlines.
Somehow, they want to squeeze you physically as much as financially.
A decision taken last week makes the physical squeezing even more painful.
You see, the Federal Aviation Administration has just declared that it won't regulate airplane legroom or seat size.
It wrote a letter to the consumer protection group Flyers Rights, in which it says there are no safety issues involved in reduced legroom or squished seat size.
Flyers Rights had sued because humans are getting larger, seats are getting smaller and, in an emergency, those larger humans might find it difficult to get out of their smaller seats, as their knees will have been somewhere near their chins for some time.
Which would make their limbs cramp up.
A court last year told the FAA to have a very good think about this.
Now, the FAA has declared the results of its cogitations:
The time it takes passengers to get out of their seats, even if those seats are relatively narrow and close together, is less than the time it takes for the emergency exits to begin functioning and for the line that begins forming in the aisle to clear.
It insists that it only takes a couple of seconds to get out of any airline seat.
For its part, Flyers Rights says that the FAA's "proof that sardine seats are just fine consists of five videos of unrepresentative test subjects doing abbreviated, partial evacuations."
Its president Paul Hudson insists:
The video clips only show younger, physically fit test subjects in exercise clothing stepping into the aisles. There is no showing subjects actually exiting any aircraft. There are no overweight, obese, elderly, infirm or children test subjects (or adjustments made for their absence), thereby excluding about 80 percent of US passengers.
Flyers Rights paints a dark picture of the political machinations that it says are behind the FAA's decision:
Because the big U.S. carriers have near-monopolies over air travel and inordinate clout in Washington, the only 'test' they have proven is that they can get away with nearly anything.
Which brings me back to the glorious seats in the picture above.
They cut seat pitch -- the distance between the back of one seat to the back of the one behind -- to a mere 23 inches. Now, American Airlines gives you 30. Some more charitable airlines give you 31 or even 32.
Just think how much money the SkyRiders might make for the airlines. New money, that is.
Now that the FAA has spoken, only Congress can put a halt to some enterprising airline -- and so many pride themselves on their enterprise these days -- giving such seats a try.
When was the last time you saw Congress actually do anything?
Perhaps, though, gyms and yoga studios will now have a burgeoning new area for classes.
Flight Preparation Bikram will surely be available shortly.