We’re getting bigger, and they’re getting smaller, and if it’s hard to get out of your seat, it’s hard to get out of the plane
As airlines shrink seat widths and legroom, the FAA is ready to investigate whether shrinking space on airliners is becoming a safety risk.
After pushes from groups such as American Airlines’ flight attendants union, FAA Deputy Administrator Daniel Elwell said the agency will hold tests in November on seat sizes and how they affect the evacuation of commercial aircraft in emergencies.
“We have 12 days of planned testing in November with 720 live bodies and the collection of 3,000 data points,” Elwell said during questioning over airliner seats at a House aviation subcommittee meeting last week.
It’s true that Americans are getting both bigger and older. The CDC says the average waist size among men was 40.2 inches in 2016, an inch more than in 2000. The average waist among women was 38.6 inches, up almost 2 inches from 2000. And now 16% of Americans are age 65 or older, a number that continues to grow as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. [read more]