Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Plans to Offer Airline Seat Size Amendment to FAA Reauthorization

February 9, 2016
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today announced that he plans to offer his Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act (H.R. 4490) as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill. FAA Reauthorization bill is scheduled to be marked up by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday. The SEAT Act would direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish minimum seat size standards for the safety and health of airline passengers. Congressman Cohen is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation.

“Shrinking seats raise safety and health concerns, and it’s time for the FAA to take action,” said Congressman Cohen “The FAA requires that planes be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet they haven’t conducted emergency evacuation tests on all of today’s smaller seats. Doctors have also warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who can’t move their legs during longer flights. Consumers are tired of being squeezed both physically and fiscally by airlines.”

The average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches before airline deregulation in the 1970s to about 31 inches today. The average width of an airline seat has also shrunk from 18 inches to about 16 ½. A copy of Congressman Cohen’s remarks from the Congressional Record can be found here.