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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