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Fighting the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat


TUG Member
Jun 6, 2005
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Fighting the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat - by Stephanie Rosenbloom/ Travel/ International New York Times/ The New York Times/ nytimes.com

"Can plane seats get any smaller?
From Our Advertisers

Those of us who prefer not to find out were cheered when a bill that would set minimum seat size standards for commercial airlines was proposed in early February by Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee. More recently, the issue received attention when Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said that he also wanted to set seat size standards.

“People have gotten larger since seats were shrunk,” Mr. Cohen said during a February debate about his proposed amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.

Seats were 18 inches wide before airline deregulation in the 1970s and have since been whittled to 16 and a half inches, he said, while seat pitch used to be 35 inches and has decreased to about 31 inches. At the same time, the average man is 30 pounds heavier today than he was in 1960 (196 pounds compared with 166 pounds) and the average woman is 26 pounds heavier (166 pounds, up from 140 pounds), Mr. Cohen said, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smaller seats and larger passengers mean planes may not be capable of rapid evacuation in the event of an emergency, he said. “This affects safety and health.”..."


Graham Roumieu