Do you think your airplane seat is too small? The FAA wants to know….

U.S. airlines and Boeing don’t think so. They want the freedom to continue to make airline passenger seats even smaller and closer together.

FAA Crowded Seats

The FAA wants public comment on minimum seat dimensions. The flying public has until November 1 to tell the FAA to immediately set minimum airline passenger space standards and enforce all flyers’ rights to safer flights.

The online link for public comment is

U.S. airlines and Boeing are counting on the flying public not knowing about this opportunity to comment, which would force the FAA to set minimum passenger space standards. In fact, so far out of millions of air travelers only 11,000 have commented.

Unfortunately, few people know how and where to comment. This article is meant to publicize how to comment.

Current FAA regulations require that all airline passengers be able to evacuate the entire aircraft in 90 seconds or less during an emergency evacuation, regardless of their height, their size, their age, their shape, their physical abilities.

Think about your last airline flight. Do you think you and your fellow passengers could safely evacuate your aircraft within the required 90 seconds?

Air travelers come in all sizes and physical abilities. Given the narrow seats, narrow aisles, and the tight space between rows in economy, where most fly, do you really think the current FAA regulation could be complied with?

For decades, the FAA, U.S. airlines and Boeing have been telling the U.S. Congress that all airlines can evacuate all passengers from every aircraft in less than a minute and a half, as required by law.

Next time you board a flight, look around you. Look for the nearest exit. Observe the people around you – their height, their size, their age, their shape, their physical abilities. Think all of you can evacuate the plane in 90 seconds or less? I don’t.

Did you know that the U.S. Congress, decades ago, mandated that the FAA set minimum space requirements, including seat size, for the air transport of passengers and animals? Animal space standards were immediately set in 1970 but the FAA and airlines asked the Congress for time to “study passenger safety and ergonomic needs.”

Now, more than 50 years later, the FAA has yet to comply. Why hasn’t the Congress required the FAA to set minimum passenger space rights as they do for animals?

The FAA has routinely allowed the aviation industry to block, delay, dilute, or discard any provision, including safety or security measures, that affects their profitability, even though the airlines and the aviation industry annually receive tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in government subsidies and bailouts. In large part these funds come from the 10 percent ticket tax passengers pay into the Aviation Trust Fund when they buy an airline ticket.

Airplane Seat

Over these past decades, the FAA has permitted airlines and Boeing to shrink seats and densify cabin space by bringing rows closer together, with as low as a 28-inch seat pitch.

Seat pitch is the distance from one point on a seat to the same point on the seat in front of it. Smaller pitch means less legroom.

They’ve also allowed the narrowing of aisles, by at least 20 percent.

Meanwhile, as seats have become smaller, 21 percent of the flying public has grown larger. Almost half cannot fit in economy seats or effectively pass down the aisles, much less move out quickly, in case of an emergency.

Size matters

Under current rules, passengers are not entitled to a complete seat, which includes 2 arm rests, or afforded any set personal space, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and back-to-back with neighboring passengers.

Middle Seat

Tighter cabin configurations with smaller seats not only compromise evacuation safety, but passenger health. They can increase the risk of serious health issues, like deep vein thrombosis, especially on flights longer than 4 hours.

“Airline flight crews and passengers’ personal safety and privacy are also at risk. Incidents of unruly or violent passengers, theft and sexual assault have increased five-fold onboard airplanes, filed with crammed passengers on overcrowded flights, said Paul Hudson, president of; FAA Safety Board member and PA103LL Foundation Board member.”

U.S. airlines and Boeing are counting on the flying public NOT TO READ the federal register, where the government publishes public notices such as proposed FAA rulemaking concerning minimum size of airline seats.

Make your voice heard and urge everyone you know that flies to go to the federal website before November 1 to demand change. Together, we can force the FAA to immediately set minimum passenger space standards and enforce all flyers’ rights for safer flights.


  1. Witcher, Zach. "Are airplane seats too small? FAA soliciting public comments on minimum dimensions". USA Today. Last modified August 03, 2022,

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