You might have heard about Flyers Rights, a non-profit group who strive to make us aware of what airlines should be telling us in the first place.
They recently sued the FAA (the part of the American Department of Transportation responsible for the safety of civil aviation) having determined that the average seat pitch (distance between you and the seat in front) had decreased by between four and seven inches in the last forty years. Within the last twenty years, seats have become on average 1 1/2 inches narrower, too.
Flyers Rights said “The average American flier has grown steadily larger in both height and girth”, and were worried that “the decrease in seat size, coupled with the increase in passenger size, imperiled passengers’ health and safety by slowing emergency egress and by causing deep vein thrombosis”
The FAA suggested that their testing showed that there was no impact on emergency deplaning. Judge Patricia Millet said “that makes no sense”. The ruling stated “Economy-seating pitch could decrease to levels that could impede emergency egress.”
There’s an interesting interview on NPR (transcript here)
The excellent Flyers Rights are at http://www.flyersrights.org/ and they’re really worth a visit.
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