Legroom medical concerns

In the letter titled “Economy Class Syndrome” (July ’07, pg. 16), the reader’s recounting of her husband’s pulmonary embolism demonstrates the dangers of the airline’s present policy of cramming more and more people into less and less space on their flights. One of my coworkers died of a pulmonary embolism last November immediately following a flight to the Philippines.

Moving about and doing leg exercises are a must and may decrease the probability of developing a pulmonary embolism. However, as airlines diminish the space allowed each passenger, something which can contribute to the compression of the vessels of the legs and hips, I have no doubt that the incidence of pulmonary embolism and P.E.-related deaths will increase.

Airlines are quick to point out that there are seats with additional legroom available for an additional price, but, by the very nature of plane configurations, the majority of passengers will not be able to travel in these seats.

I traveled to Paris on a United Airlines flight in May ’07 and I am convinced that this airline had again diminished its legroom (and I am a rather short man). Their much-touted United Plus seats were not available, and this flight was like most flights nowadays: completely full.

Personally, I think airlines should be held liable if their desire to put too many people into too little space endangers passengers’ health or lives. While I may not be fond of the legal profession in general, it has its uses. If an airline chooses to treat its customers like cattle rather than as human beings and this results in passenger deaths, they need to be hit in the only place that they seem to care about, their pocketbooks.


Chesterfield, MO