American Airlines announced they are going to add two more rows of seats on their Boeing 737s while Jet Blue is putting 12 more seats on their A320s.
Their quest for profits has put passengers in smaller and smaller seats, and the sardine tins are about to get even smaller.
That’s not safe, consumer groups argue, taking the FAA to court claiming the ever-shrinking distance between rows makes it impossible for passengers to evacuate during emergencies within the mandated 90-seconds. The federal agency says they have safety tests that indicate there is no violation, but has not released information from the study, while airlines justify smaller seats claiming financial need.
“Any time there is any discussion of regulation, they cry that this is going to put them out of business. I’m surprised the FAA has not released the data and has not clearly told consumer what the heck is going on,” says Charlie Leocha, chairman and founder of Travelers United, and a nationally recognized travel expert who has testified on behalf of consumers before Congress.
Conde Nast Travelers’ Clive Irving says his investigation finds safety tests are dangerously outdated, failing to address shrinking seats and expanding waistbands.
A federal court has given the FAA a deadline to demonstrate their confidence in the results of tests. “Or explain how they figured out they can get the plane evacuated in 90 seconds, and this all has to happen before the end of the year,” Leocha tells NewsRadio 740 KTRH. And he says the airlines are making billions in profits each year. “The airline industry is anything but insecure at the moment.”