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Traveling Coach on U.S. Flights Has Become a Serious Pain


Cramped seats. Screaming babies. A sick and sneezing person sitting right next to you. Practically on top of you.

Frequent business travelers know -- perhaps all too well -- that flying coach can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Now there’s some proof to back it up.

Buried within the research for the recently announced World Airline Awards, airlines from American companies fared poorly in the “best airline seat" category, The Atlantic reports. Not only did no U.S. airline make it into the top 10 for economy seating, none of them cracked the top 10 for any premium seating category -- including first class, business class or premium economy.

The top three airlines for economy seats are Saudi Arabian Airlines, Korean Air and Garuda Indonesia. The best three airlines for business class are Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Oman Air, according to the awards. Emirates was named the best overall airline.

Related: Why Airline Loyalty May No Longer Pay Off

"There’s been a deliberate effort in recent years, especially by American carriers, to make life on an airplane as miserable as possible," The Atlantic said pointedly in the article. "The strategy of cultivating loyalty by offering free upgrades has been replaced by one that charges customers for the privilege of comfort. The passenger who gets stuck sitting between a screaming baby and a sick person is more likely to pay extra to take refuge in an aisle, an exit row or a new seating category such as 'economy plus' or 'comfort economy.'"

To complicate your business travel further, U.S. Congress recently approved a measure to increase the Transportation Security Administration fees charged on plane tickets. The fee has been $2.50 for a non-stop flight or $5 for a connecting flight. Starting today, expect to pay $5.60 for all flights. And, get this: Any connection longer than four hours will technically count as a separate flight, requiring an additional fee.

While you might argue that additional money should make our planes and airports more secure, the extra dollars raised by the fee hike will be diverted to the general fund in an effort to raise $12.6 billion to reduce the national deficit. That's right, a fee increase essentially disguised as a tax.

Happy travels.

Related: This Might Have Been the Coolest Airplane Ride (Ever?)

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