If you think spacious seating on airplanes is a basic, inalienable human right, you might be disappointed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent decision. The FAA has stated that it will not force airlines to provide more legroom on flights, rejecting calls for minimum legal leg space.
Flyers Rights, the largest US airline passenger organization, has called for the agency to institute legal minimums, arguing that shrinking seat sizes pose a potential hazard. The FAA, however, concluded that there is no evidence that leg space affects a person’s ability to get out of his or her seat during an emergency. Furthermore, the FAA argues that it actually takes more time for a flight attendant to open an exit door than it does for passengers to get up from their seats.
While the average distance between seats used to be 35 inches, it recently decreased to just 31 inches — and in some cases, it’s as low as 28 inches. If this trend continues, maybe the FAA will see fit to institute regulations. For now, though, we’ll just have to keep banging our knees on the seat in front of us.