Tiny airline seats are a common complaint amongst travelers. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided to open the conversation to the general public back in August. On the FAA website, they stated they would seek public comment on the minimum seat dimensions necessary for passenger safety.
The document was then published to the Federal Register, with the comment period lasting from August 3 to November 1, 2022.
Why Tiny Seats on Airplanes Matter
In 2018, Congress directed the FAA to issue rules for the minimum dimensions needed for passenger seats to be safe. In response, the FAA released a cabin evacuation study in March 2022. This includes results from numerous simulated emergency evacuations and recommendations.
The study determined that the current tiny airline seats would be safe during an evacuation for 99% of the population.
The general comments seem to disagree.
Although the docket is now closed, the posted comments surpassed 26,000. The grand majority of people believe that the seats are too small for the average person, especially as humans in general get taller.
The first submitted comment came from Emily Clarke, who said, “The current seats are too small for Americans of average size, myself included.”
She added, “Please increase the seat size so that the minimum seat dimensions are able to safely accommodate more Americans. The average American hip measurement is around 40 in circumference, which is simply too large to fit into the common 17-inch wide seat.”
The last submitted comment came in from Dr. Michael Canaris. He said, “As someone who has earned 200,000 loyalty points from one particular airline this year as a frequent flyer, I am appalled that it has taken this long to regulate the width, length, and pitch of airline seats.”
He also said he heard employees refer to the cabin as a “cattle car” and asks for accountability from the airlines.
Author’s Note: I also submitted a complaint.
Tiny airline seats have been a big pet peeve of mine for a while. I’m 6’5 and I simply do not fit into standard airline seats. I submitted anonymously (although I thought I’d put in my name), but I think tiny airline seats are an issue. I’m personally happy this has started to become a topic of conversation.
Here’s to hoping things change in the future.