Declining aircraft seat sizes

By | Category: Travel news

airline seats – getting smaller?

In the USA a consumer lobby group,, has received a letter from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in answer to the concern about the declining width or aircraft seats. had demanded federal regulation of seat size suggesting there were safety concerns with smaller seat width and pitch dimensions. Their cause was bolstered when a judge asked the FAA to reconsider its position.

The FAA sees no reason to believe there is a safety problem but the four page letter in reply has, unsurprisingly, angered

Aircraft seats have been slowly declining in size over the last few decades as people have become larger but the FAA has ruled that this is having no impact on a person’s ability to leave their seats and get to the exit doors.

But surely have used the wrong argument. The decline in seat dimensions is surely a health issue. As people have become larger fitting comfortably into a seat has become more difficult for larger people meaning not only are they inconvenienced but as they ooze into adjacent seats, so are their neighbouring passengers. If a person is uncomfortable in a seat then that lack of comfort indicates a potential health problem as people are poured into smaller spaces.

Being small in height and width compared to many passengers I can attest how uncomfortable it is for me to hold my arms closely tucked about me because my adjacent passenger has overflowed into my seat area. If I end up in a cramped area then what does a person of normal size suffer? But as I also suffer from a bad back, I need to move around to alleviate the throbbing I get. In many airline seats I can no longer do this.

The laudable aim of is to get FAA designated seat sizes below which airlines cannot drop. The CAA in our countries should be considering a similar notion because airlines will try to get as many economy passengers as they can into a small space hoping that will upgrade to what is often called “premium economy” a space that reflects the amount of space in which I used wo travel and which was then “economy” class.

We regulate spaces below which animals cannot travel: why not the same for humans?

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