WASHINGTON -- Airline passengers are getting grumpier, and it's little wonder.
Airlines keep shrinking the size of seats to stuff more people onto planes, those empty middle seats that once provided a little more room are now occupied and more people with tickets are being turned away because flights are overbooked.
Private researchers who analyzed federal data on airline performance also said in a report being released Monday that consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation surged by one-fifth last year even though other measures such as on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage show airlines are doing a better job.
"The way airlines have taken 130-seat airplanes and expanded them to 150 seats to squeeze out more revenue I think is finally catching up with them," said Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University who has co-written the annual report for 23 years.
"People are saying, 'Look, I don't fit here. Do something about this.' At some point airlines can't keep shrinking seats to put more people into the same tube," he said.
The industry is even looking at ways to make today's smaller-than-a-broom closet toilets more compact in the hope of squeezing a few more seats onto planes.
4 held in Nevada killing
RENO, Nev. -- A sheriff says a blanket-wrapped body believed to be that of Nevada's chief insurance examiner, William McCune, was found Saturday in a river in Carson City, and four suspects were arrested in his disappearance.
Positive identification and cause of death haven't been officially established.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says all four suspects -- two charged with murder, two with robbery, all in their early 20s -- are from the Carson City area, but detectives were unsure of their relationship to 62-year-old McCune, or the motive for the slaying.
Investigators suspected foul play after finding evidence Thursday of a violent struggle in McCune's apartment in Carson City.
Phila. flags at half-staff
PHILADELPHIA -- The mayor of Philadelphia on Sunday ordered flags flown at half-staff and called for prayers for the family and colleagues of a veteran fire captain killed when a roof collapsed beneath him as he battled a blaze, the third city firefighter killed in the line of duty in a year.
Capt. Michael Goodwin, 53, plunged onto the second-floor roof of the three-story building in the Fabric Row section during Saturday night's blaze. Firefighter Andrew Godlewski, 28, burned on his hands while trying to rescue Capt. Goodwin, was discharged Sunday from a hospital, officials said.
"We must never forget the grave risks that these heroic public servants take every day at a moment's notice on behalf of us all," Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement Sunday.
Church prays for Warren
LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- Members of Rick Warren's Southern California church began Sunday services with a prayer for the popular evangelical pastor, as he and his family coped with the apparent suicide of his 27-year-old son.
The lead pastor was not in attendance Sunday, a day after the church announced that Matthew Warren took his own life at his Mission Viejo home.
Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life, Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement, after his body was found Friday night.
-- Compiled from news services