Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, proposes establishing minimum dimensions for airline seats
Cohen says shrinking seats have become a safety issue
Airline industry says regulators have deemed seats safe
Among things about which people are “mad as hell and not gonna take anymore,” shrinking airline seats have to be near the top of the list.
But now, a U.S. lawmaker isn’t just grumbling about being stuck in economy behind some inconsiderate lummox reclining his seat.
He’s doing something about it.
Attempting something that’s never been done before, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, has proposed establishing mandatory federal minimum size standards for airline passenger seats.
“This issue, in my opinion is a microcosm of what the public is showing for Bernie Sanders and for Donald Trump,” Cohen told CNN on Wednesday. “It’s about an industry not being responsive to people and being responsive to special interests.”
We don’t need to tell you that airlines have put the squeeze on fliers over the years.
Narrower seats and seat pitches have helped airlines fit more seats on planes to allow overall lower fares and higher profit margins.
Just basic physics, right?
Cohen claims that seat width “has shrunk from 18 inches in the 1970s to about 16.5 inches today.”
Meanwhile, American bodies have widened.
In 1962, the U.S. government measured the width of the American backside in the seated position.
It averaged 14 inches for men and 14.4 inches for women.
A 2002 Air Force study showed male and female butts had blown up on average to more than 15 inches.
Then there’s seat “pitch” – the distance between any point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front.
Cohen says pitch has shrunk from “35 inches during the 1970s to about 31 inches today.”