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Published on : Monday, July 31, 2017
Cramped legroom has long been a complain by the passengers. In the new order passed by Judge Patricia Ann Millett, she said that it is the ‘Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’. “As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size.”
Flyers Rights, a non-profit advocacy group had brought this matter to the law and the court found it in favour of them. They argued that steadily shrinking legroom and seat size created a safety hazard and asked the Federal Aviation Administration to impose new restrictions.
This year in May, American Airlines announced it would shrink the space between most rows to 30 inches (76 centimeters) on its newest Boeing Co. 737 Max jetliners, which they later dropped to cut the distance in some rows to 29 inches. But it didn’t save them from facing bitter criticism.
Flyers Rights argued that the average seat width has narrowed from approximately 18.5 inches in the early-2000s to 17 inches in the early-to-mid-2010s. In recent decades, the distance between seat rows, known as “seat pitch,” has gone from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches, and as low as 28 inches at some airlines, the group said in the suit.
With lesser legroom, it can be a safety hazard, specially in case of emergency. It can also be the potential cause for deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition of blood clots in the legs that has been associated with longer flights.
Even as emergency evacuations have gotten significantly safer in recent decades, a debate continues to rage on how U.S. and other leading aviation regulators around the world certify the maximum number of passengers allowed on an airliner.