Then this same seat made it on the front page of the New York Times business section today. My thought evolved into: how can I make the airplane seat controversy relevant for the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practice's blog? On a very micro level, the issue comes down to seat design and how there is not enough space for a typically-sized passenger. Because space becomes an even more harrowing issue when the person in front reclines his/her seat, three flights have recently been forced to land due to subsequent fights. This is for real. This is not an Onion article.
What does the airplane seat controversy say for the individual, the micro lens? And, maybe more importantly, what does this seat say for an industries drive for profit, the macro. A psychologist's two cents is relevant. Immediately one sees the impulsivity in these scenarios. People are very upset by losing space and by being told what to do when they should have the option to recline, or not recline, as desired. There are also the types of people who take into consideration the needs of other passengers and choose accordingly. That is the micro element.
But I am mesmerized, yes mesmerized, by the choices the airline industry is making to salvage profits. Their choices are leading to erratic, otherwise nonsensical, behavior in the consumer. Take luggage fees for example. I was recently on a flight to Oregon on which a flight attendant mocked the overpacking of Oregonians. The choice of the individual is called into question when in fact the behavior is being pulled on a group level: after spending $300 on an airplane ticket, people do what they can to avoid additional fees. Here we have a similar issue. A new hassle is introduced to daily living in airlines downsizing the coach passenger's space. This question is bigger than one of seat design and implementation. Is this the responsibility of an industry or the responsibility of the individual? Macro or micro?