Last updated: 04:17 PM ET, Tue May 31 2016

Passenger Claims Cramped Airplane Seat Almost Killed Him

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | May 31, 2016

Passenger Claims Cramped Airplane Seat Almost Killed Him

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A passenger on an Air Canada flight in January is claiming that he almost died due to the cramped conditions on the plane during a turbulent journey.

According to, 64-year-old Colin Savage was on a 10-hour flight from Chile to Canada for a hiking trip when the plane he was on began to deal with turbulence. Attendants asked passengers to remain seated for most of the flight, which forced the taller Savage into an uncomfortably cramped seat for a long period of time.

After returning home, Savage began to experience lower back pain and eventually made his way to the doctor for a checkup. The doctor diagnosed whim with deep vein thrombosis, and said the blood clots had made their way into his lungs and almost killed him.

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According to World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people traveling in a confined space for extended periods of time — especially more than four hours — are at risk for complications.

On the other hand, the World Health Organization also told Air Canada that healthy passengers are at no real risk, and that travel via train, bus or car offers the same risk level for passengers.

The issue arises when anyone sits for too long and the veins in the pelvis are restricted. The slowed blood flow increases the risk of clots, which can be made worse by the reduced oxygen pressure.

With seat sizes and seat pitch reductions from many top airlines over the last 20 years, the concern about similar incidents is on the rise. Thankfully, some airlines offer seats with extra legroom, but that’s an amenity that will cost extra.


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