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Empty rows of airplane seats
Silviu | Adobe Stock

Tired of Tiny Airplane Seats? Tell the FAA

SmarterTravel

In 2018, Congress directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to set a minimum size for airplane seats, in order to ensure that passengers will be able to evacuate aircraft quickly during an emergency. The FAA has not yet established a minimum size but is now re-examining the issue. 

Empty airplane seat and airplane window
antonpedko | Adobe Stock

As part of its investigation, the FAA has published a request for public comments regarding the “minimum seat dimensions necessary for safety of air passengers” in the event of an emergency evacuation.

The FAA is looking for comments that “address whether, considering the existing regulatory requirements, one or more of the following seat dimensions have or demonstrably could adversely affect the safety of air passengers by delaying the group egress time of an emergency evacuation: Seat width, seat pitch, seat length; and other seat dimensions.”

The agency is hoping to solicit comments from a wide range of passengers, including children, people over 60, and individuals with disabilities. 

Unfortunately, the FAA does not want to hear about how cramped and uncomfortable you may find the seats in coach—the request for comments specifies that the agency is not interested in opinions on “matters unrelated to the agency’s determination under section 577, such as how the dimensions of passenger seats might relate to passenger comfort or convenience.”

Comments may be submitted to the FAA online, by postal mail, via hand-delivery, or faxed. Be sure to reference docket number FAA-2022-1001 when writing in. For specific instructions, see the full details at the FAA’s notice posted on the Federal Register.

Written comments must be received by November 1, 2022 to be considered.  

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