March 13, 2018 11:24 am

Travel Tuesday: cramped aircraft causing customer complaints

Economy class seating.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

It’s travel Tuesday, where we check in with travel expert Claire Newell from Travel Best Bets for tips to make your next vacation a breeze. 

If you felt a little claustrophobic on your last flight, you’re not the only one. Passengers are getting grumpier as airlines downsize seats and book flights to full capacity.

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Airlines keep managing to shrink the size of seats in an effort to stuff more people onto planes. And if you haven’t been seeing those empty seats it’s because they are now occupied in an effort to keep flights fully booked. Unfortunately this can also mean passengers with tickets are getting bumped because flights are overbooked.

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Private researchers who analyzed U.S. federal data on airline performance have said recently said that consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation surged over the years. Some of the airlines analyzed were Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, SkyWest, Southwest, United and US Airways.

They found the rate at which passengers with tickets were denied seats because planes were full rose by almost 20 percent in the last five years.

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But it’s not just getting bumped that is making travelers angry; the complaints are in relation to airlines turning 130-seat airplanes into 150-seaters in an attempt to get more revenue from each flight.

Travelers simply are not taking the sardines-in-a-can approach to travel lightly and are voicing their complaints.

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Apparently airlines are even looking at ways to make the tiny bathrooms onboard even more compact in an effort to add more seats.

All in all, it means you shouldn’t expect to see roomier aircraft any time in the near future.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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