The Federal Aviation Administration would be required to set new minimum requirements for seats on airplanes under legislation to be considered in the House this week. Lawmakers from both chambers agreed it was time to take action on “ever-shrinking seats. ”The regulation of seat width and legroom is part of a five-year extension of federal aviation programs. The bill would prohibit the involuntary bumping of passengers who have already boarded a plane. It will also require the FAA to study the potential health impacts of flight noise and the feasibility of amending existing departure procedures.
The bill would mandate that flight attendants get a minimum of 10 hours of rest between their work shifts and require airlines to communicate better with customers during mass flight cancellations and groundings.The room between rows is measured from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in the next row. It was once commonly 34 or 35 inches, and is now less than 30 inches on some planes. Lawmakers have scuttled a plan to prohibit airlines from charging “unreasonable” fees for changing or canceling tickets. Airlines opposed efforts to crack down on changes fees, which are as high as $200 per ticket. Last year, U.S. carriers collected nearly $2.9 billion in change fees.