FAA to apply restrictions on shrinking legroom and seat sizes

Travellers could soon see the end of plane seat shrinkages and reduced legroom.

Will plane seats keep shrinking?

It seems every time I board a plane the seats are smaller and the legroom is barely enough to fit my size 10s. Over the past decade, travellers have seen plane seats shrink at a rate where, one day, only the slightest builds will sit comfortably.

Planes that once had two-three-two seat configurations are now loaded up with three seats across three lanes. And airlines aren’t content with already packing passengers in like sardines – some have even begun to minimise the size of the bathroom.

I often wonder when seat and legroom shrinkage gets to the point of ridiculousness, if it hasn’t already.

Well, it seems the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees with me.

While the FAA regulates civil aviation in the United States, it’s seen as a benchmark for global aviation standards. Which is great news for passengers who are tired of resting their chins on their knees.

Last year, the FAA ruled out setting minimum standards for seat width and legroom, but it seems it’s reconsidering its position, after a US Congress push to cap seat shrinkage.

This would mean the seat sizes won’t get any smaller and it would set a trend for the rest of the world.

“Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats,” said Democratic senator Bill Nelson.

Other changes being considered could mean that passengers can no longer be booted off overbooked flights, pets will banned from being stowed in overhead compartments and passengers could receive refunds for services not received, such as inflight entertainment not working.

Also being considered is the removal of a provision which would have allowed airlines to regulate fees for baggage and seat reservations.

“Airline travellers are being gouged by exorbitant fees, but the airlines will stop at nothing to protect this billion-dollar profit centre,” said Democratic senator Edward J Markey.

Should the new rules pass, airlines may no longer charge fees for carry-on bags, as they would be considered a necessary part of travel and, therefore, the cost of taking a bag would be included in the airfare.

Do you find that plane seats are too small? Do you hope this ruling passes and the trend continues around the world?



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    13th Oct 2018
    If you book muli leg flights and have one internstional flight then you dont lay baggage on any of the other flights. Don't use those book in terminals as they will ask you to pay baggage. Go to the service desk and they will do it all for you instead.
    13th Oct 2018
    I never have to worry about shrinking seats or leg room. I will only travel internationally in business class. I know it's an expense 'most' people would balk at, but for me it's a necessity.

    I prefer not to travel by plane domestically. If I can get there by car and/or ferry, then that's the way I'd go.
    14th Apr 2019
    Must be a bastard being fat
    13th Oct 2018
    Talk about cattle class! It won't be long before we have a Standup class where all on board are upright with just a little bench to place one's butt on.
    13th Oct 2018
    It’s about time as seats and foot spaces are getting smaller. It should be made a standard for all aircraft manufacturers, not the customers desires. People are getting bigger and taller and yet the seats are getting smaller, to double dip on fate, and tall people must pay for seats with more leg room. It’s like the banks and the reason behind it is simply because they CAN.
    13th Oct 2018
    There is always premium economy and Virgins economy X if you need more legroom flying domestic. Premium economy is available on most international flights now too. SuziJ had the right idea if you can afford it, RTW business can be purchased from $5000 business class. Then you get a load of frequent Flyer/ miles points and a loaf of status credits that you can use for lounge access and a cheaper flight next time ie upgrade via points, reward seats etc.
    I shall certainly enjoy my trip to perth and return on 'The Business' with Virgin at Christmas!
    13th Oct 2018
    I agree Leon although you may also be growing....chuckle.
    We never fly Virgin to America anymore because the seat and leg room in their Boeing 777s are outrageous. No legroom and like sitting on a board for 14 hours. Having seen the bums on seats keep going down with Virgin I can see why they are struggling financially. Regular travellers have been ditching them for years by the look of it. They've lost the last 5 years with us and they refuse to offer better deals for regular travellers despite often being only two thirds full.
    We have not had a leg room problem on Airbus A380 flights and that included several different carriers. A much more suitable aircraft.
    13th Oct 2018
    They will probably argue that packing you in so you can't move, makes you safer in a crash.

    Won't matter to me unless the government decides to give pensioners a free trip to the nearest capital city each year.
    13th Oct 2018
    I usually just fly to other states and although not very tall find there's only just enough room for my legs.
    Unfortunately there's often someone in the seat in front who throws their seat right back and it can get very uncomfortable.

    13th Oct 2018
    Yes, it is a dual problem as Fiona has also noted. Too little leg space in Economy and more cramped when the inconsiderate fool in front throws back his / her seat as soon as the seat-belt sign is switched off - even in the A380. Hate A380 crowds for getting in and out too.

    Since we in Australia have no voice, I hope FAA can one day do a proper review and make the minimum standards based on real studies of passengers comfort through passenger surveys, then maybe we have hope (trickle-through effect).

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