Top News
news_img British Open begins at Carnoustie, one of golf's toughest tests  ||   news_img How to help victims and families of Branson, Missouri duck boat accident  ||   news_img Braves-Nationals rained out, makeup to be determined  ||   news_img Michael Stich, Helena Sukova inducted into tennis hall  ||   news_img TASTE OF THE TOUR: Sheep stomachs and Roquefort in Millau  ||   news_img Ecuador may be close to ejecting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy  ||   news_img The Latest: Spieth moves to top of leaderboard with 65  ||   news_img CVS fires pharmacist who denied hormone prescription to transgender woman  ||   news_img Top seed Sevastova back in Bucharest Open final vs Martic  ||   news_img Go 75 mph while 197 feet in the air on the new 'Steel Curtain'  ||   news_img Plane crashes in Texas but all 13 passengers survive, sheriff's office says  ||   news_img Poll: What's the biggest threat to your potential inheritance? Family squabbles  ||   news_img More small businesses seek to expand opportunities for disabled workers  ||   news_img Lincicome shoots 71 but misses cut at Barbasol Championship  ||   news_img British Open begins at Carnoustie, one of golf's toughest tests  ||   news_img Mayawati warns BSP leaders against making pubic comments on tie-ups  ||   news_img Reliever Jesse Chavez joins Cubs after trade with Rangers  ||   news_img Amit Shah in 1,800 Delhi BJP WhatsApp groups to 'stem fake news'  ||   news_img Mega Millions soars to $493 million for Tuesday  ||   news_img FCA recommends Jeep exec Mike Manley to replace CEO Sergio Marchionne  ||            

For squeezed summer flyers, no relief in sight  1 Week ago

Source:   USA Today  

Besides being extremely uncomfortable, are cramped airline seats a hazard to your safety?

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration finally gave its answer, which amounted to: Nothing to worry about here, folks.

That shouldn't necessarily be the final word on the subject.

As every frequent or even infrequent flyer knows, many seats in coach these days are more suited to sardines than people.

In recent years, airlines have shrunk average seat “pitch,” a proxy for legroom, along with the width of individual seats. Average pitch in economy has narrowed from about 35 inches to 31 inches.  On some discount carriers, such as Spirit and Frontier, pitch is as narrow as 28 inches. Average seat width has shrunk from 18 inches to 17 inches or less.

At the same time, Americans have grown larger: In 2013-14, the latest statistics available, more than 70 percent of Americans were overweight and nearly 38 percent were obese. An average woman who weighed 140 pounds in 1960 weighed 166 pounds in 2010. The average man went from 166 to 195 pounds.

FAA: We don’t see any evacuation problem

So back in 2015, a passenger advocacy group called Flyers Rights — worried that narrowed spacing, combined with Americans' expanding waistlines, impedes emergency evacuations — petitioned the FAA to regulate airline seat sizes.

The agency, however, quickly blew off the group's argument. Flyers Rights appealed, and last July, a federal appellate court in Washington blasted the FAA for its cavalier dismissal of plausible concerns and its insistence that tests showed no safety problem while refusing to reveal any of those tests. “The administration cannot hide the evidentiary ball,” U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett wrote in her opinion. She ordered the FAA to produce the evidence it said it had. 

Almost a year later, the FAA came back with the same answer: There's "no evidence" seat dimensions or increasing passenger size hamper evacuations. Its proof? A few video clips of evacuation tests done by airplane manufacturers, all lacking important context.

The FAA's standards for who's included in evacuation tests — last updated in 1993 — don't even require manufacturers to include some test volunteers who are overweight. Nor do the tests involve children, infants, the elderly or disabled, because they could be injured. While that's understandable, it's hard to have confidence in tests that don’t represent a planeload of typical Americans.  And what about an emotional support animal or two in the mix?

Passengers have grown angrier over the industry's shrinking seats and cramped rows that leave fliers with one alternative: paying their way out of pain. If that's simply a matter of comfort, the government doesn't need to be involved.

But if it's also a matter of health and safety, that's a different story. It is up to the government to require tests that actually simulate the real world of today's airline travel. And if those tests show a problem, it will be up to regulators or Congress to mandate minimums.

If you can't see the below poll, please refresh your story page:

 

More News
About Us Terms & Conditions Disclaimer
Advertise Contact
register and win

NRIS.COM is one of the premier NRI website that provides a range of resourceful services to Indian expats residing in the USA. Visiting the site you will find comprehensive information related to restaurants, casinos, pubs, temples, carpool, movies, education, real estate, and forums. The simple and easy to navigate format allows NRIs to gain information within a fraction of a second. Moreover, advertising through its column of Indian free classifieds in USA allow businesses to improve visibility of their brand.

National NRI's Chat (0 Users Online)