[Washington, DC] -- U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) issued the following statement today criticizing a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration not to issue regulations regarding airline seat size and pitch.


The FAA has an obligation to protect the safety and wellbeing of passengers, and it simply defies logic to suggest that wedging larger and larger people into smaller and smaller seats is in the public interest. We simply cannot fathom why the FAA would not at least wait until the DOT Office of Inspector General has concluded its investigation into emergency evacuation standards before making its determination. Inexplicably and with flimsy evidence, the FAA declares that seat sizes are unlikely to go below 27 inches, yet in the same breath refuses to consider regulations to protect passengers from such a risk. The incredible shrinking airline seat is more than an inconvenience, it can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of passengers. The FAA’s stunning failure to act in the public interest here is yet one more reason why Congress must pass an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights immediately. We require minimum cargo space for traveling animals—how can there be no such protection for human passengers?”


Blumenthal and Markey are authors of the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, comprehensive legislation to expand protections for American air travelers. The bill would require FAA to take initial steps to assess and set a minimum seat size, among other safety provisions.