Washington, DC â€“ Yesterday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed by voice vote to include an amendment that would require the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to establish a minimum seat size on commercial airlines as well as a minimum distance between rows of seats. This amendment is based on the bipartisan, bicameral Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act and will be included in the broader FAA Reauthorization bill.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who co-introduced the SEAT Act legislation with Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), released the following statement:
"With over 23,000 flights flying every day in the United States, we must ensure standards are in place to provide safe air travel for passengers. Cutting down legroom to add more seats to the already crowded planes is simply dangerous.
"The SEAT Act will ensure standards for seat sizes large enough to guarantee effective passageways for emergency evacuation. I'm proud to support this important measure, with bipartisan and bicameral support, to make the frequency of air travel safer for everyone. Special thank you to my colleague Congressman Cohen for his partnership and tireless efforts on this important measure. "
The average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches before airline deregulation in the 1970s to about 31 inches today. The average width of an airline seat has also shrunk from 18 inches to about 16.5 inches. This provision will be included in the overall FAA Reauthorization Bill, where the current authority is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Please click here to read the bill and learn more about the SEAT Act.