US court upholds complaint about shrinking airline seat sizes

airliner cabinIn a court of appeals in the US, judges have made a decision which will please airline passengers who usually travel in economy class. An air passengers’ consumer organisation, Flyers Rights, had filed a law suit claiming economy seats were getting smaller and needed to be standardised.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard the motion lodged by Flyers Rights. It said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needed to introduce regulations governing minimum seat width, pitch and legroom. The court told the FAA that it should reconsider whether such legislation is necessary.

Flyers Rights said smaller seats and narrower aisles put passengers’ lives at risk. The argument alleged smaller aisles meant emergency evacuations took longer while tiny seats could end up with passengers getting deep vein thromboses or cause other serious ailments.

One of the judges seemed to agree with the appeal and labelled the motion ‘the incredible shrinking airline seat’. Although asking the FAA to reconsider is not legally binding, the head of Flyers Rights says it is a step in the right direction.

Paul Hudson carried on by saying the judges had made a decision which was essentially a put down for the airline industry. For its part, the FAA says airlines already factor in safety when configuring seating on aircraft.

In evidence presented to the court, the FAA stated that airlines had to set up seating so they could evacuate all passengers within a deadline of 90 seconds. The evidence said seat pitches and sizes were also evaluated in testing.



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