The Federal Aviation Administration is soliciting comments on a potential rule to dictate the minimum size of airline seats, including width, pitch and length, to facilitate an orderly aircraft evacuation.
Comment Period Comes After Congressional Report
In the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the civil aviation agency was tasked by Congress to do a study of “aircraft evacuation certification with regard to emergency evacuation system designs and crew evacuation procedures.” A committee was ultimately formed and asked to look into every aspect of modern aviation and emergency evacuation – specifically how current seating technology would affect leaving an aircraft in an emergency.
As a result of their study, the committee recommended 27 different improvements to airplane design and certification standards. The ideas range from improving the emergency lighting systems to be brighter, evaluate aircraft staffing requirements, re-evaluating flight attendant jump seats and creating a universal designated emergency frequency.
The agency is taking the recommendations a step further by requesting comments on a potential rule about aircraft seats. The FAA says they are looking for public comments about how seat dimensions (including pitch, length and width) could affect flyers escaping in an emergency.
“The FAA has assessed what safety issues could be associated with seat dimensions,” the statement on the request for comments reads. “And concluded that additional data regarding evacuations could be valuable.”
The comments should be focused specifically on the issue of passenger safety and ability to escape after a critical situation. Any public comments should not be submitted about passenger comfort. While all comments are welcome, the FAA asks the public to review the reports in the Regulations.gov docket prior to submitting.
Public comments can be made through November 3, 2022, by visiting Regulations.gov and searching for docket FAA-2022-1001. So far, over 9,400 comments have been submitted regarding minimum seat dimensions.
Seat Dimensions Long-Standing Debate in Aviation Industry
Discussions about minimum seat dimensions are not a new concept. In 2015, FlyersRights.org started a petition online to force the FAA to reconsider seat sizes, saying they wanted to find a balance between “promoting airline passenger policies…while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens.”
Source: frugal travel guy