I thought it would be good to end the week on a happy note. Cathay Pacific has apparently decided to replace its torturous coach seats. I’ve never flown in these seats, but I don’t recall ever seeing such backlash at a simple coach seat.
I first wrote about these seats way back in September 2006. At the time, I said “These have some great new features that could help make flying economy much more bearable.” It appears that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
These were some of the first seats to recline into themselves. In other words, instead of the seat reclining backwards, it had the front slide forward to create the recline. That reduced legroom a little, but it also meant that the person behind you wouldn’t feel the pain of your recline. To make up for the legroom loss, Cathay relocated the seatback pocket to be under the seat so that gave back some legroom.
Great, right? Not so much. In fact, I continued to get about a comment a month on the blog about how horrible these seats are with the most recent one coming in earlier this week. Here are some of the highlights of the pain these seats have caused.
It doesn’t recline – it slides you into the seat in front. Since my knees are touching teh seat in front to start with, this leaves me with nowhere to go – other than the chiropractor when I get off.
The new seat is terrible: the seat recline, but not the headset!!!
So your head stays vertical all along.
Which means that your head falls forwards when you fall asleep.
Really ergonomically speaking, it just forces you into a slouch, with your spine bending into itself. This might be bearable for a short flight but is unforgivable for these long hauls.
It’s been since says since I got back from my HKG to NYC flight and my BACK STILL HURTS.
But then as the flight progressed the 10mm of padding on the seats became the real problem and I had very uncomfortable pressure points on my back.
I will be increasing my travel to Asia (3-4 times per year) and I will NEVER fly Cathay again unless/until these seats are recognized for the huge mistake they are and are removed. This fiasco is worthy of a case study in business school on the same bonehead level as “New Coke”
Seen enough? These seats appear to be the worst things ever invented, according to those who flew in them. And now, they’re finally, mercifully going to be put out to pasture. Actually, maybe some of the torture museums around the world can get some copies to scare tall people. In reality, they’ll just be going into shorter haul aircraft, so the pain won’t be nearly as noticeable.
This will also result in a new premium economy cabin as well as a refresh to the fancy pants seats at the pointy-end of the plane. Kudos to Cathay for listening. Let’s hope they get better info from focus groups this time so they don’t have to replace the seats again in another couple years.
[Original Photo via Flickr user kevingessner]