Congressman Cohen Seeks Representative Demographics for Aircraft Evacuation Testing

October 31, 2019
Press Release
Federal Aviation Administration to evaluate commercial aircraft safety


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation, today wrote the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Stephen Dickson and Deputy Administrator Daniel K. Elwell, requesting information regarding the FAA’s decision against using a demographically representative sample in its upcoming emergency evacuation testing as mandated by federal law.  See the letter here. 


The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act that became law last October contained provisions of Congressman Cohen’s Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act, requiring the FAA to establish minimum seat sizes and distances between rows of seats on commercial aircraft to assure the safety of the flying public. The FAA is planning to conduct evacuation testing using 720 participants over 12 days in November but reportedly will not include individuals under 18, over 60, or with travel-limiting disabilities, service animals or young children. 


“This is completely unacceptable and unrealistic,” Congressman Cohen writes in his letter. “The SEAT Act will have a significant impact on the safety and health of airline passengers if it is implemented properly. I respectfully request that you provide an update and explanation into the FAA’s decision-making process in omitting these crucial demographic groups.”