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Bill Introduced to Regulate Airline Seat Size

The U.S. Government says, “We’re cramped as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!” to airlines.

Frequent travelers, tentatively rejoice! H.R. 1467, or the Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act, was just introduced to Congress on Thursday. This bill says that no, the airline industry can’t continue to cram passengers on planes like sardines. Instead, seats need to be manufactured with a minimum size and distance to ensure everyone has satisfactory legroom and space.

“Shrinking seat sizes in airplanes isn’t just a matter of comfort but the safety and health of passengers as well,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said in a statement. “Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency. In addition, doctors have warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who do not move their legs enough during longer flights.”

Since deregulation in the 1970s, space between plane seats shrank from 35 inches to 31 inches, and the seat width has gone down to 16.5 inches from 18. Those smaller seats have been shown to increase the amount of rage a passenger might feel — a study released last year shows that economy passengers on a plane with a first-class cabin are 3.8 times more likely to have an “air rage” issue, and 2.18 times more likely if they have to walk through first class to get to their economy seats.

“Airlines are aggressively reducing seat and passenger space to squeeze more revenue out of passengers, despite health and safety being threatened,” Paul Hudson, president of air traveler advocacy group FlyersRights.org, told Fox News.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
mikesyr18 March 16, 2017

I'm kind of on the fence about this one. Remember when we started regulating banks? There went totally free checking, debit card rewards, etc., for consumers. Imagine what the airline industry will do to make up for a loss of seats on the airlines... I see more expensive flights and higher checked bag fees... Maybe even a carry on bag fee to make up the difference.

rthib March 15, 2017

If you want a larger seat, pay for it. Do not make everyone else on the plane subsidise your greed. You have an option for free bags, larger seats, refundable tickets, meals etc... all you have to do is pay more. And if you don't want/need those things you have the option of not paying for them. It is not free. All stupid regulations like this do is raise the price for everyone.

sdsearch March 15, 2017

I don't think this is the first time that something like this has been introduced. I seem to remember something quite similar last year, also mentioned in a FlyerTalk front page column. And "introduced" doesn't mean a lot, if it's introduced by the minority party (as it is in this case and was in the last case).. If it doesn't have majority party backers, it won't likely get very far in Congress.

robsaw March 15, 2017

While an appeal to let free market forces reign may hold some sway (and greed is a two-way street; consumer cheapness is the functional equivalent to corporate greed) any rational examination of the marketplace reveals endless examples where the principle of a "well-regulated market" is necessary. What consumers will tolerate, what they want and what the airlines provide as for basic services and options is not really a balanced equation. Lowest common-denominators prevail and the market races to the bottom until there is either intervention or collapse.

ksandness March 14, 2017

As a tall older person, I have trouble getting out of even an aisle seat in coach without resorting to the much-derided practice of grabbing the seat in front of me, and while I have a few extra pounds on me, I'm not nearly as heavy as many of the passengers I see. I shudder to think of what would happen if we actually had to evacuate in smoke and flames, not in a simulation with prepared "passengers" for testing purposes.