Financial expert Jeff Macke once said of airlines, “The more agony you put yourself through, the more profit they make.”
It’s no secret that airlines have been “optimizing profits” for some time now, with charges for everything from checking bags to being able to have an assigned seat.
In addition to the extra charges, airlines have tried to cram more people into planes, and that has meant reducing seat width and “pitch,” the term used for the distance between passengers and the seats in front of them , also known as legroom. .
But there may be relief for weary travelers, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeking comments on proposed regulations to create minimum seat dimensions and pitch lengths for all US airlines.
Over the past decade, the pitch length has been reduced from 35 inches to 31 inches, with some airlines such as Spirit ( SAV ) reducing it to 28 inches. This happens at the same time that Americans have been getting older, with a FAA study found that the average male gained 15 pounds and 2 inches of waist size, while the average woman added 16 pounds and 3 inches of waist size.
The regulations only seek comments “necessary for the safety of air passengers” in light of an emergency evacuation, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from commenting on seat sizes. (You can view and post comments here.)
The point guy Senior writer Ethan Klapper told Yahoo Finance that regardless of the agency’s intent, “It’s likely going to become a battle between the airline industry, which wants to pack more seats into planes because it lowers costs, and the consumer groups, who have long complained about passenger comfort problems on aircraft.”
And for example, as of noon this afternoon, the agency’s website had more than 9,500 comments.
“I’m 6’4″ tall and find room for my legs under my bust[a]t in front of me is almost impossible. Because of the small seating area, I find it necessary to wear compression stockings over my calf to keep the blood flowing, while contorting my legs to fit,” said one commenter from Scottsdale, Arizona. , higher, more deep and further [t]him in front of me, so that older people can enjoy flying again.”
The story continues
Passengers take their seats before takeoff on a Boeing 737 MAX plane operated by low-cost airline Gol at Guarulhos International Airport near Sao Paulo on December 9, 2020, as the 737 MAX is back in use more than 20 months after being landed. two fatal accidents. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP) (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)
The Airlines for America, a trade group that represents U.S.-based airlines, told Yahoo Finance that while it welcomes the new FAA regulations, the current situation is not actually a safety issue.
That hasn’t assuaged the concerns of many commenters on the agency’s website. “A seat that is too small, especially one where the armrests significantly encroach on personal space, makes it very difficult and uncomfortable to get in/out of the seat,” said one commenter from Davenport, IA. “I am concerned that this will significantly affect my ability to quickly evacuate the aircraft in the event of an emergency.” D that all US carriers meet or exceed federal safety standards for seat sizes, and that the FAA continue to approve seat configurations before they enter service.
That hasn’t assuaged the concerns of many commenters on the agency’s website. “A seat that’s too small, especially one where the armrests significantly encroach on personal space, makes it very difficult and uncomfortable to get in/out of the seat,” said a commenter from Davenport, Iowa. “I am concerned that this will significantly affect my ability to quickly evacuate the aircraft in an emergency.”
The FAA will continue to receive written public comments until November 1, at which time it will issue rules shortly thereafter for minimum passenger seat dimensions.
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