Will airplane seats ever stop shrinking?


The Federal Aviation Administration announced last Tuesday that it will not establish a minimum width or seat length on airplanes.

Last year, aviation legislation organization Flyers Rights sued the FAA for allowing seats that created safety concerns because of their small size. The FAA struck down these allegations, claiming that the 27 inches of pitch created reasonable room for passengers to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

However, the FAA does not have much evidence on its side, and it may hurt them in the future. To counter the allegations, the FAA watched evacuation test videos from many airplane manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus – all videos show that passengers have no difficulty in evacuating the jets. Flyers Rights president Paul Hudson had this to say about their rebuttal:

The FAA says that it has seen no evidence that passenger size, age or physical capacity effects evacuation time because it refuses to do testing that actually reflects the current passenger population and shrunken seats and aisle widths in any realistic way.

Because of this limited information, the Department of Transportation will audit the FAA’s findings. This will likely lead to new testing for these airplanes, and the tests will vary depending on the size of the passenger.

Ever since airlines were deregulated in 1978, the size of and distance between seats has fallen significantly. But as more people become frustrated with their shrinking seats, the FAA and individual airlines will have more pressure to switch tactics and add an inch or two to seats’ pitches.


Featured image via PxHere