Airplane Seats Could Be Putting Us in Danger

Airplane Seats Could Be Putting Us in Danger.

As any frequent flier can tell you, airplane seats are getting uncomfortably small. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to test whether or not the new seat sizes are becoming unsafe for passengers as well.

FAA deputy administrator Dan Elwell toldthe House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation that the organization will test if passengers can safely exit a plane with the newly compacted seat configurations. This test is a quick turnaround for the organization. Just one year ago it declined to regulate airline seat sizes. At the time, the FAA said it had “no evidence that current seat sizes are a factor in evacuation speed. ”

“Americans are getting bigger, so seat size is important, but it’s got to be looked at in the context of safety,” Elwell said during a September subcommittee meeting. The group will be looking to find out how both seat size and pitch affect safety, he noted.

According to Elwell, the group plans to test seat safety using 720 volunteers representing a “good demographic sampling” including children and animals. Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee, who sits on the subcommittee, pushed Elwell on just what that sampling would look like, noting it was key to represent all sizes and disabilities. The group will work together over the course of 12 days to test different emergency scenarios.

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