Travel is all too often replete with unexpected obstacles — from a man urinating all over business class to a disgusting sock-stuffed seat, from a woman being publicly weighed in the airport to a hostess being beaten with an in-flight phone — but this is one of the strangest we’ve heard all year: passengers flying with British Airways had their flight cancelled because the seats were too darned comfy.
A British Airways flight from Milan to London Heathrow was barred from takeoff by the Italian government on Monday thanks to an unlikely culprit: excessively plush seat cushions. As reported by View From The Wing, the Italian aviation authority conducted a surprise inspection on the British Airways Airbus A320neo flight bound for London.
Unfortunately for passengers, inspectors found that seats located near the overwing exits were made with seat cushions that exceeded mandated thickness. The exit row of an aircraft is designed to provide ample legroom for swift evacuation in case of emergencies, with seat cushions usually designed to be less pronounced to facilitate easy movement.
Sadly, the aircraft failed to comply with requirements and was barred from takeoff. To rectify the situation and obtain departure clearance, British Airways had to find smaller seat cushions suitable for the designated exit row. Unfortunately, Linate Airport didn’t have these readily available, and so the situation became more drawn out and complex…
As the flight was fully booked, removing the excess seat cushions without inconveniencing passengers was not an available option. Airline staff began a meticulous inspection, cross-referencing seat cushions with their corresponding serial numbers to identify and replace the oversized ones with appropriately sized alternatives.
@slimventures PART 1 – Random aviation authority checks in Milan almost grounded this British airways to LHR. #aviation #airbus #britishairways #milan ♬ original sound – Slim
Despite the setback, British Airways managed to resolve the issue — somewhat miraculously — with only a one-hour delay, allowing the flight to proceed to its intended destination.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first instance of government intervention regarding airline comfort standards. In the United States, authorities have intervened in attempts by airlines like Spirit to enhance passenger comfort, citing concerns about potential price hikes and disruptions to established business models.
Further to this, certain regulations, such as the default prohibition on installing doors in business class seats, highlight the intricate regulatory landscape governing airline operations globally, and the often underappreciated levels of thought and safety protocol that go into designing every inch of our aircraft.
Do you consider this to be bureaucracy gone mad? Or an airport simply doing its job and putting passenger safety first? Let us know.