Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Demands Answers on SEAT ACT Implementation

July 17, 2019
Press Release
Aviation subcommittee hearing reviews aircraft safety

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, questioned witnesses about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) inaction on implementation of the Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act that became law more than nine months ago. The law required the FAA to set minimum seat sizes and distances between rows of seats to meet safety standards. 

The hearing also heard from the families of victims of recent Boeing 737 Max plane crashes.

In his questioning of witness Lori Bassani, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Congressman Cohen asked about the feasibility of evacuating a modern commercial aircraft in the FAA-mandated 90 seconds, pointing out that the standard has not been met in recent aircraft evacuations. 

Bassani thanked Congressman Cohen for his leadership on the SEAT Act and said, it was “the single most important thing flight attendants find that we need right now and that our passengers need...It’s so important that we enact this sooner rather than later.” 

See the entire question and answer exchange here

Also testifying at the subcommittee hearing were: 

  • Paul Njoroge, representing the families of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, husband of Carolyne Karanja, father of Ryan Njuguna, Kelli Pauls, Rubi Pauls, and son-in-law of Anne Karanja, victims of Flight ET302;  
  • Michael Stumo, father of Samya Stumo, Victim of ET302; 
  • Dana Schulze, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB);   
  • Captain Joe DePete, Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA);  
  • Mike Perrone, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS);   
  • John Samuelsen, Transport Workers Union (TWU).