Lawmaker Vows to Fight Ever-Shrinking Airline Seats

'Consumers are tired of being squeezed both physically and fiscally by airlines'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 7:02 PM CST
Presumably tired of getting elbowed every five seconds by the guy sitting next to him, one US representative wants to force the FAA to agree to a minimum airline seat size.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – Cramped airline passengers, Steve Cohen speaks for you. The representative from Tennessee plans to introduce the Seat Egress in Air Travel Act on Thursday, USA Today reports. According to Consumerist, Cohen doesn't want to see airline seats continue to get smaller. The SEAT Act would force the FAA to agree to a minimum size. “Consumers are tired of being squeezed both physically and fiscally by airlines,” Cohen said in a press release announcing the act on Monday. “Shrinking seat sizes isn’t just a matter of comfort but safety and health as well." He argues cramped seating could slow evacuation efforts in the event of emergencies and increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis in passengers.

Cohen plans on pitching the SEAT Act as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill, which the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to vote on Thursday. The amendment "faces long odds" to actually becoming law, according to USA Today. Airline passengers have lost about 4 inches of leg room and 1.5 inches of butt room since the 1970s. The smaller seats have allowed airlines to fit more passengers on board while making planes lighter to save on fuel costs. (Read more airline seats stories.)

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