Regardless of traveler grumblings and a government court case, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Tuesday that it won’t control a base seat estimate on planes.
In a letter to customer advocate group FlyersRights.org, the FAA said it found “no confirmation that there is a quick security issue requiring rulemaking as of now” with respect to seat width and pitch.
A year ago, Flyers Rights sued the FAA at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. asserting that confined seats were a security issue in the plane cabin. A year ago, the court requested the FAA to document a “legitimately reasoned disposition” with respect to seat pitch and security.
In its letter, the FAA said it had “no proof that present seat sizes are a factor in evacuation speed” and that it trusted “seat pitch is probably not going to go underneath 27 inches under current flight technologies and controls.”
As proof, the FAA went through recordings of tests from aircraft producers like Boeing, Embraer, and Airbus, which inferred that seat measure does not back off crisis evacuations.
In reply to the decision, Paul Hudson, the legal advisor for Flyers Rights, disclosed to USA Today, “On the off chance that you don’t do the tests, evident in the event that you stick your head in the sand, you’re not going to have proof.”
At the demand of the House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, the Department of Transportation will review the FAA’s evacuation norms. The review could call for new testing, in view of passenger count.
There is still hope for travelers searching for more space, however. A year ago, American Airlines reported it would decrease seat pitch on some airship to 29 inches — yet the aircraft switched course after clients stood up.