No, you aren't imagining it: There is indeed less leg room on some airplanes than there used to be.
"Back in the old days, probably 20 years ago, the tendency was to have about 34 inches," says Mark Gerchick, a former chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. "Now the standard is about 31 inches in the United States. ... Some of the low-cost airlines have tightened that up to about 28 inches, which is now approaching the limits of anatomical possibility."
Ye Meng Yuan, one of two Chinese teenagers who died at the scene of Asiana Flight 214's crash in San Francisco, was alive when she was struck by an emergency vehicle responding to the disaster, San Mateo County (Calif.) coroner Robert Foucrault told reporters Friday.
Even if passengers aren't eager to celebrate, airlines are. The fees, born in 2008, helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft as the U.S. economy was spiraling down.
"That was a watershed year that scared the bejeezus out of the airline industry," said Mark Gerchick, an aviation consultant who has just released a book, Full Upright and Locked Position. Even as ticket sales were sliding, jet fuel prices were shooting to historic highs.