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Bigger airplane seats
Photo: Jonathan Cutter

Want Bigger Airplane Seats? The FAA Wants to Hear From You

Let’s be honest: airplane seats are too small. Being stuck in an uncomfortable seat for an hours-long flight is one of the many reasons people hate flying. Well, there’s good news! The Federal Aviation Administration wants your thoughts on minimum airline seat dimensions.

An official airline seat size review

In 2018, congress directed the FAA to create rules around the minimum size airline seats needed to ensure passenger safety. The agency then ran simulated emergency evacuations and produced a report that found the “overall level of safety in emergency evacuations to be very high, but made 27 recommendations to the FAA related to how the safety of such evacuations could be improved.”

Focusing on size and safety

The FAA posting specifies that this review is focused specifically on safety, not comfort and convenience. Increasing seat size could potentially increase passenger safety, allowing people to get into and out of their seats more easily. Longer seat belts could help mitigate the need for seat belt extenders, which, according to research by Pamela Denman of Pammie Plus Parks, aren’t all that great:

If a passenger uses their own seat belt extender rather than one provided by the airline, then in the event of an incident where the passenger is injured or killed, the passenger’s travel, life, accidental death and dismemberment, long term disability, supplemental health and life insurance may be null and void because they failed to use an FAA approved, inspected, tested and certified safety device provided by the airline.

Here’s how to comment on airline seat sizes

The FAA offers several ways for you to comment on minimum airline seat dimensions, as you can see below:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2022-1001 using any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

• Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

• Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

• Facsimile: Fax comments to Docket Operations at (202) 493-2251.

Would you like to see larger seats on airplanes? Make your voice heard. The comment period ends November 1st, 2022, so share your thoughts using one of the methods above.