Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Cohen and Kinzinger Plan to Offer Airplane Seat Size Amendment to House FAA Bill

April 19, 2016
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) announced today they plan to offer a bipartisan amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill to establish a minimum seat size on commercial airlines as well as a minimum distance between rows of seats to protect the safety and health of airline passengers. The Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization Bill earlier today and it now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The amendment is based on the bipartisan Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act (H.R. 4490), introduced earlier this year by Congressman Cohen and cosponsored by Congressman Kinzinger.

“Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet appropriate testing has not been done on all of today’s smaller seats,” said Congressman Cohen. “In addition, doctors have warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who don’t move their legs during longer flights. Safety has to come first.  That is why we plan to offer the SEAT Act as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill. The time to examine the safety implications of smaller seats is now, not after some future tragedy. I would like to thank Congressman Kinzinger for his efforts on this amendment and for his commitment to safety.”

“The SEAT Act is an important measure for the safety and health of passengers as well as critical to allowing for rapid evacuation in case of an emergency,” said Congressman Kinzinger.  “Establishing a minimum seat size and minimum distance between rows on an airplane makes sense, and I hope the House takes up this amendment in the FAA Authorization Bill.  Special thanks to Congressman Cohen for introducing this legislation and bringing attention to the issue.  I’m proud to work with Rep. Cohen and our colleagues in an effective, bipartisan manner.”

Congress is working to renew authorization for the FAA with the current authority set to expire in July.

Press coverage of the SEAT Act can be found at: NY Times; Chicago TribuneCBS Evening NewsCBS Morning NewsNBC’s Today ShowWashington PostUSA TodayWashington PostCNN

Congressman Cohen’s Op-Ed on this issue was published in USA Today. You can read his Op-Ed here.