- The Federal Aviation Administration wants to know how you think seat size affects flight safety.
- Some are using the survey to advocate for inclusive seating for all body types, Bloomberg reported.
- Interested members of the public have 90 days to make a submission.
The Federal Aviation Administration wants to know what passengers think about their seats on passenger jets.
While the FAA is inviting submissions from the traveling public before November 1, it isn't specifically interested about your comfort in the air, Bloomberg reported.
The agency is asking for comments on how seat sizes affect the safety of disabled people, as well as children and those over the age of 60, in particular.
A spokesperson told Insider: "The FAA encourages commenters to review the cabin evacuations study, and provide information about the minimum dimensions of passenger seats that are necessary for safety."
However, Annette Richmond, the founder of the travel site Fat Girls Traveling, told Bloomberg: "When it comes to plus-size travelers and fat travelers, not only is it a comfort issue, it's a safety issue."
—KagedHeart (@Kaged_Heart) August 5, 2022
Research published in the Journal of Travel Medicine found that traveling has long been stressful for overweight people. Paul Hudson, president of the advocacy group FlyersRights.org, said only 20% of travelers can comfortably fit in current seats, USA Today reported.
"It's beyond a matter of comfort, or even emergency evacuation, there are serious health and safety issues when you're put in cramped conditions for hours on end."
Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a member of the House transportation committee, told USA Today: "The seats have gotten smaller and smaller and smaller and it's been pretty apparent to the naked eye and the traveling public that airplanes aren't safe if there's an emergency."
Karlijn Burridge, a fellow with the Obesity Medicine Association, told Bloomberg her patients' safety is affected by seat sizes: "They report physical pain, severe bruising, and a fear of not fitting into a seat or being able to use the bathroom while on a flight. Many people will avoid flying all together, if they can help it, because of these issues."
Airlines have suggested passengers to purchase an additional seat for comfort, which doubles the cost of a trip. The average price for a domestic US flight is about $330.
Last year the FAA released a study that found even the smallest seat designs have no impact on emergency evacuation. It also found that the average weight of a study participant was 88.5 kilograms, or about 195 pounds.
Southwest's Boeing 737 aircrafts generally have a seat pitch of 31 to 33 inches, and American Airlines' Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 typically have 30 to 32 inches in economy, according to SeatGuru.