Judge Orders Review Of Airline Seat Sizes, Legroom

Image Lex Rayton  imageBROKER  REX  Shutterstock

Image Lex Rayton imageBROKER REX Shutterstock

"This is the case of the incredible shrinking airline seat". "We are studying the ruling carefully and any potential actions we may take to address the Court's findings, '" writes Barbara Peterson for Condé Nast Traveler.

However, FAA declined to bring airlines under regulations on the issue.

"The court pointed out that it would be impossible for it to make a decision in favor of an agency that chose to withhold the very information upon which it claims to have made its judgments", he said.

Arthur Alan Wolk, a lawyer who specialises in aviation law, called the court's ruling "groundbreaking".

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The group has also argued that airlines may be out of step with the realities of Americans' needs, particularly in light of climbing obesity rates.

Why, United Airlines president Scott Kirby feels that if you're uncomfortable in coach, it's your own fault.

Seat pitch is the distance from one seat to the same spot on the one in front or behind.

According to advocacy group Flyers Rights, the average width of airplane seats has decreased from 18.5 inches in the early 2000s to 17 inches by 2005. Spirit Airlines was last with 28 inches, while Virgin America and Southwest had 32 inches and Delta and American Airlines had 32 inches. Though they were seeking a ruling to force the FAA to establish safe minimums on seat size, the court stopped short of that.

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Economy class seating on this new Boeing 787-9 is somewhat more spacious than on many commercial aircrfaft. By spreading its costs to operate a flight over a larger number of seats on the same size plane, the airline can offer lower fares and operate more efficiently by flying fewer flights.

A U.S. House of Representatives bill under consideration would require the FAA to set minimum seat sizes on U.S. airlines and a minimum distance between rows to "protect the safety and health of airline passengers". "Its main USA trade group, Airlines for America, declined to comment on the ruling", according to an AP story on CNBC.com. The group also says that seats with little legroom can pose a safety hazard, as emergency exits are more hard.

The FAA now has 6 months to provide documentation to back up its argument that it shouldn't regulate seat size.

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