There's now a bill before the Senate that could be voted on this week that would force the FAA to regulate airplane passenger seat size.
Three years ago, the organization Flyers Rights flied a rule-making petition, which the Federal Aviation Administration denied and then went to court. Last year, the court in a three to zero decision sent it back telling the FAA to reconsider. Earlier this month, the FAA rejected it, again.
The FAA reauthorization bill S. 1405 calls for the agency to establish minimum standards on seat width and pitch within a year. Congress can direct the FAA to study the matter.
FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee member and FlyersRights.org President, Paul Hudson told Fox News for the past decade, seat sizes keep getting smaller; and there are no regulations from the airlines that regulate seats.
“They have jammed more and more people. So, now three quarters of the population can no longer comfortably fit in the seats. And, about 10 percent cannot fit in at all. That is people that weigh over, say, 250 or over 6’2. The only way they can fit is by encroaching on their neighbors or in the aisle,” said Hudson.
Hudson said at some point, health and safety of passengers have to matter.
“When it comes to seats, there is no regulation. We have regulation for animals, we have regulation for prisoners, but we have no regulation for regular people,” said Hudson.
Flyers Rights claims seat size and pitch is a detriment to passenger safety, should they have to exit immediately in a landing emergency.
The Department of Transportation's inspector general is also reviewing if passengers can still meet the 90-second evacuation requirement in an emergency, with such tight seating constraints.