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Court Pushes FAA To Actually Regulate Seat Size And Leg Room On Airplanes

Preparations Ahead Of The Farnborough International Airshow 2016
Bloomberg via Getty Images

I always thought the Federal Aviation Administration had a say in just how many people an airline can squeeze into an aircraft. It appears as if I was mistaken. The FAA isn’t concerned with passenger comfort. They are concerned with safety. That safety issue might be the reason that you and I can actually be more comfortable when we fly.

A federal court is now asking the FAA to look into the sizing of airline seats and the accompanying leg room associated with those seats. The courts aren’t asking for government intervention because of the comfort factor. They are inquiring because of the safety aspect.¬†

The court is concerned that should you and I need to exit an aircraft in a hurry because of an emergency that the restricted space between seats could compromise our ability to get out safely. Think about it. Passengers have enough trouble getting off an airline when they aren’t in a hurry. Imagine the total chaos should an emergency exit be required.

This court ruling comes on the heels of an attempt to actually reduce seat sizes and row space. That request which would have required congressional approval was delayed so the FAA could come up with a better standard for what today’s larger travelers require.

You can bet the booze and free peanuts will be flowing to congressmen and women over the next four months as the lobbyist for the airline industry woos our lawmakers to do right by the industry and stick it to the flying public. The FAA has been given 180 days to determine what is safest seat size and the proper amount of row space needed to accommodate a safe exit of an aircraft in an emergency.


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