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Airplane seats don't align with the windows because of capitalism

Airplanes are a modern miracle. The fact that ordinary people can pay a couple hundred bucks to travel a thousand miles in a single day is something our grandparents had to be born amongst the World Wars to finally realize. The airplane, like the automobile, is the ultimate triumph of capitalism. It is the power of the individual to choose their own path, literally, through time and space.

Just buy a ticket, hop onboard, and you can go from the UK to Japan, or Norway to South Africa, in a trip that would have taken previous generations an entire caravan of supplies and several armed guards/ships to complete.

Now, having said all that, I've got one complaint. One fairly simple, reasonable complaint: why are the windows askew?

seat window airplane Credit: NY Post

Many seats are aligned perfectly fine with the windows! But the farther you walk down the aisle, the more it becomes apparent that these seats often overlap the windows, and that all views from the plane are simply not equal. It's a shame, too, because it's not like you can pay more or less depending on window access.

So what gives? Why, exactly, is this unequal distribution of window space such a standard 'thing' amongst airplane companies?

The answer is the same reason why the airplane exists: capitalism. Ah, marvelous capitalism. Origin of all industry, and swallower of all goodness that doesn't result in a profit. Capitalism is in many ways like life itself - it's great, but really, it's not, like, at all, for most people.

airplane seats Credit: New York Post

In order to guarantee everybody a window, like in some fantasy Marxist airplane, (which I would love to ride by the way) companies would need to reduce the number of seats onboard, which would mean selling less tickets, and making less money.

Companies like JetBlue and American Airlines order aircraft from manufacturers, but the lanes come completely empty. It's up to their discretion where and how the seats get placed, and since these companies are all operating for a profit, they want to stuff and pack as many seats as possible into the limited space of the airplane.

You notice this conundrum with leg room as well. There used to be 33 whole inches between the end of one seat and the start of another. Decent, right? That number is now at 31 inches on average, and some planes are even moving to a dreadful, evil 28 inches of leg room. My goodness.

airplane Credit: Pexel

Friends, the airplane company simply doesn't care whether or not you get a window. Even if you have a window seat, you're not guaranteed a window. They just want to sell more tickets. It's an interesting case study in the systemic flaws of capitalism - user experience will take a hit if the cuts can profit the company in some other way.

The next time you fly, pay careful attention to who ends up drawing the short stick. Those poor individuals stuck without a window, despite being pressed against the hull of the aircraft. Those are the oppressed people. Those are the ones who, someday, may rally against the airlines and demand a window as a matter of course - it's their right!

Windows for all! From the Ben & Jerry's ice cream of Bernie Sanders to the old-boy charm of Jeremy Corbyn, let us all be entitled to a window on an airplane as a human right! Right?

  • Aug
  • 751 shares
  • Alexander Blum