A US-based passenger rights group is calling on authorities to ban airlines from further reducing the size of seats on planes.
FlyersRights.org says the diminishing size of seats and shrinking legroom has become an ‘intolerable situation’ for passengers.
It has asked the Federal Aviation Administration, which has similar powers to the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK, to block any further downsizing.
The group has delivered a petition with more than 30,000 signatures to FAA chief Michael Huerta asking for minimum standards for legroom and seat width.
“The shrinkage of seats and passenger space by airlines to generate higher profits while the size of passengers has substantially increased has created an intolerable crisis situation,” the petition said.
“It is threatening the health, safety and comfort of all passengers.”
The FAA responded by saying the petition would be assessed in ‘an appropriate time frame.’
There are no rules governing standards for seat legroom or width by the U.S. Department of Transportation, or in the UK for that matter, only that passengers have sufficient room to quickly evacuate in an emergency situation.
A Transportation Department advisory committee met last week to discuss consumer issues in commercial aviation but did not address the size of seating, only urging airlines to disclose seat dimensions at point of sale.
One committee member Charles Leocha supports the petition and pointed to a government directive that regulates minimum space requirements for dogs travelling on airplanes but not humans.
“I was very disappointed that we didn’t come up with a committee recommendation on personal space on aircraft,” Leocha said.
The airline industry trade group Airlines for America rejected the idea and said government action is unnecessary.
“We believe that government should not regulate airline seat sizes, but instead market forces and competition should determine what is offered,” said A4A spokeswoman Jean Medina.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015