Warning, Australia’s airline seats are no longer big enough for passengers – here’s why
Airlines must address “significant issues” posed by weight gain in Australia, which could drive travelers away from their services and increase fuel costs.
Australians consume around 3kg every 10 years, a trend that has big implications for travel, according to a new study of 20,000 adults from the University of South Australia, Transport for NSW and Victoria’s Transport Department .
The country’s first anthropometric dataset, produced by cooperative research center iMOVE, predicts the average Australian is expected to gain weight by 1.5kg to 3.5kg per decade, an “alarming” figure according to chief executive Ian Christensen.
“This is alarming because of the implications this has on our transportation vehicles and potentially alarming because of the impact this could have on community health,” he said.
The extra weight is expected to cause problems for travelers, as “changes in body dimensions over the past 30 years have made airline seat dimensions problematic and unable to accommodate up to 68 percent of men and 22 percent of women. according to the study.
Airlines must address ‘significant issues’ posed by weight gain in Australia which could drive travelers away from their services and drive up fuel costs (file photo)
Mr Christensen said airlines often base their average passenger weight data on decades-old averages which do not reflect the Australian population, which can “cause significant problems for members of the Australian community who are are at the higher end of the spectrum in terms of weight or height.
“It would be prudent for all transportation authorities, public and private, to ensure that the vehicles they add to their fleet are designed to accommodate the community that actually exists and the people that actually exist, not some imaginary average which is not an accurate reflection of the current population,” he said.
The issue of larger people on planes is far from an Australian issue, with predictions that more than half the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035.
US plus-size travel influencer Jae’lynn Chaney launched a petition in April urging US aviation authorities to require airlines to provide an extra seat for free to those who need it.
“Is it right to squeeze someone into a single seat, causing discomfort for them and other passengers, when a simple solution exists?” » she declared while launching her petition.
“We are not asking for luxury; we demand basic dignity.
Both Virgin and Qantas declined to say whether they were incorporating the new statistics into their plans for future seat design.
Currently, the only accommodations offered to tall travelers are offers to purchase an extra seat next to them and seat belt extenders.
US plus-size travel influencer Jae’lynn Chaney (pictured) started a petition in April urging airlines to offer a free extra seat to those who can’t take one.
Australians gain around 3kg every 10 years, a trend that leaves up to 68% of men and 22% of women unable to adapt to current seat dimensions (file image)
The problem also extends beyond airlines to other forms of transport, such as public buses and trains, with Transport for NSW planning to incorporate the findings into its future planning, according to senior transport specialist Christina Kirsch. human factors.
“Our goal is to get data specific to the Australian population so we can design public transport tailored specifically to our shapes and sizes,” Ms Kirsch said.
“These designs have a direct impact on passenger comfort, safety, accessibility and overall user experience. By integrating anthropometric data into the design process, we can ensure that work and transport systems are more efficient, safer and more comfortable for our staff and customers to use.