Congress Considers Bill That Would Increase Seat Size And Legroom On Airplanes
By Isha Thorpe
Airplane passengers may finally have their prayers answered.
According to The Associated Press, legislation that would order the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand sizes of airplanes’ seats and legroom is being discussed in the House of Representatives this week.
This new bill was proposed on Saturday (Sept. 22) by Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and House committees tasked with overseeing America’s air travel. It’s part of a five-year extension of the FAA’s programs. The deadline to keep the programs running is Sept. 30.
Over the years, cramped seating in planes has become more of an issue. At one point in time, legroom in the coach section of planes used to be an average of 35 inches. Now, that number has decreased to only 31 inches, USA Today reports. As far as seat width, that’s declined for passengers, too. On average, it started off at 18 inches. That measurement is now 17 inches or sometimes, even less. On top of that, people are getting bigger. Shrinking airplane seats coupled with larger passengers makes for very uncomfortable flights.
“Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats,” said Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), AP reports.
But, this new legislation will do much more besides increase seat width and legroom if passed. The act will also prohibit airlines from removing passengers who have already been seated from overbooked flights. Moreover, it will mandate that all flight attendants received a minimum of 10 hours for a break in between flight shifts. It will also confront health concerns that stem from airports’ deafening noise levels.
This push wouldn’t be the first time that some action has tried to be taken to increase seat sizes and legroom in planes. Back in July, the FAA rejected the idea of setting any sort of minimum standard. However, it looks like members of the Congress are now more serious than ever about stepping in and doing something about these uncomfortable flights.
Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Sen. John Thune, said that he believes Congress will move swiftly with the bill.