BANGOR, Maine — The Federal Aviation Administration will soon be accepting feedback from the public to help it establish a minimum standard for seat size.
Half of all passengers can not fit in today’s economy seats, according to flyersrights.org President Paul Hudson.
"The seats, over the past 40 years, have shrunk," Hudson told NEWS CENTER Maine. "The pitch or the leg room has gone from 35 inches down to as little as 28 inches. The width of the seat has also shrunk from about an average of 18 and a half inches down to a 16- or 17-inch width on many airlines."
Hudson said his group has urged the government to address the issue of shrinking airline seats in the past. He said it's a matter of public health.
"In 2021, we had about 857,000 cases of deep-vein thrombosis and about 100 fatalities, according to the CDC," Hudson explained as a result of passengers in cramped seating on planes for long periods of time. "This is something we think really needs to be addressed in the new seat standard."
Back in 2018, Congress ordered the FAA to establish minimum dimensions for airplane seats within a year, but the agency has yet to comply.
This week the FAA is expected to take a step toward creating a new seat size regulation by kicking off a 90-day public comment period.
The new fact-finding mission is driven not by comfort but safety as airlines need to meet a 90-second standard to evacuate a plane.
Once the public comment period begins, anyone who wants to can submit their feedback at www.regulations.gov.