The Federal Aviation Administration wanted feedback from travelers on the flight, particularly the size of seats on the planes.
Boy, did they give it to them.
And the consensus was what you might expect – the seats are too small, travelers said, according to the results received to date.
The FAA began soliciting opinions on airline seat sizes in August, and the public comment period was flooded with thousands of thoughts on the subject. The public comment period ended on November 1; now the FAA says it is sifting through responses.
“We will review all applicable comments,” the government agency said. “Our review has no set deadline.”
It’s no surprise that this is taking a long time, not considering that the FAA said it received more than 21,000 responses. The comments were apparently aimed at improving airline security measures and the ability to get in and out of seats and aisles in the event of an emergency on a flight. But commentators have turned it into a referendum on seat sizes.
“Airplane seats are MUCH too small. There needs to be a minimum size set, and it needs to be larger than the current size,” wrote commentator Epiphany Pizor. “Estimates indicate that less than TWENTY PERCENT of Americans can fit into today’s airplane seats, and whether or not you think fat people deserve to be treated with dignity, that number is totally unacceptable.”
As Americans grow — some experts say by as much as 30% over the past 30 years — airline seat size has become an issue for the traveling public and for carriers. United Airlines, in fact, said earlier this month that it was deliberately not to sell certain seats on its flights to ensure better weight distribution on the plane.
“Only about 50% of the population can fit into the seats and for men only about 13% have narrower shoulders than the seats,” said Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org and member of the advisory board on FAA aviation regulations. told Good Morning America in August.