Notice airline seats getting smaller and smaller? There are lawmakers who want to do something about it.
They’ve gotten together to introduce the SEAT Act to the U.S. Congress and Senate. SEAT stands for ‘Seat Egress in Air Travel’ and would establish a minimum seat size on commercial flights and a minimum distance between rows of seats.
“The number one complaint I hear from travelers is shrinking legroom and cramped seats,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who is one of the bill’s sponsors. “Consumers are tired of being packed into airplanes like sardines while the airlines are cruising on record profits thanks to consolidation and super-low fuel prices.”
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 ½.
Aside from comfort, the lawmakers say there are issues with deep vein thrombosis for people who don’t move their legs often enough on long flights. And they say the shrinking room means evacuations in the event of emergencies would be more difficult.
Right now, there’s no federal mandate on one much space should be between rows other than in the exit rows.