Make flying comfortable

Make flying comfortable

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Leonid Knyshov started this petition to President Donald J. Trump and

Flying on airplanes has become intolerably uncomfortable for everyone. It wasn’t always this way. As seats shrunk to 17” wide and 28” pitch, most American people simply can not fit in such seats safely.

This disproportionately affects the disabled, obese, and tall people. Window seat passengers should be able to walk in front of a sleeping middle seat passenger without waking that person.

We, the American flying public demand the following concessions as the absolute condition for the requested bailout.

  1.  All seats in economy cabin shall have minimum recline capability of 30 degrees.
  2. The seat pitch shall be no less than 39” for all seats in the economy cabin.
  3. The seat width in economy cabin, excluding arm rests, shall be no thinner than 25”.
  4.  The seat padding shall be comparable to current domestic business class.
  5. The FAA shall codify these minimum comfort requirements as part of aircraft safety parameters and have ability to decertify and ground aircraft out of compliance.
  6. These requirements shall be set as minimum by the FAA and impossible to change.

There is one US Senator, Charles Schumer D-NY, who is actively fighting with the FAA to make this a reality. In fact, the FAA is overdue by 6 months and out of compliance with the demands of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

 Here is his letter:

“Dear Administrator Dickson:

In the face of shrinking commercial airplane seat sizes and increasing discomfort of passengers, I am troubled by Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) management of this issue. The FAA is late in issuing minimum seat size regulations and the current testing that is being done is lacking and inadequate. I request that you swiftly take steps to rectify the testing underway and to issue regulations as soon as possible in order to address this important matter for the flying public.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 mandated that within one year, the FAA issue regulations establishing a minimum seat pitch, width, and length that is necessary for the safety of passengers. The one year mandatory deadline passed on October 5, 2019, but your administration has not issued such regulations.

Furthermore, while testing at an FAA facility is underway to study how shrinking seat sizes impacts the ability of passengers to quickly evacuate an aircraft, I am troubled by the inadequate testing procedures that are in place. These tests use only adults between the ages of 18 and 60 and lack inclusion of children, seniors, people with disabilities, and even pets. In short, the testing conducted by the FAA does not represent real world conditions for evacuation of an aircraft.

While it is alarming that one year after the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, your administration has not been able to issue regulations establishing minimum seat size for safety, it is even more alarming that the FAA is not using the most basic, common-sense real world testing conditions to assess the ability of passengers to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

The FAA must do all that it humanly can to protect the flying public. To that end, I respectfully request that the agency’s testing of evacuation procedures include all demographics and real-world conditions found on commercial aircraft, and that it be completed as swiftly as possible in order to issue seat size regulations as per the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.


Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator“

USA Today has more background information.

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