Passenger group petitioning for bigger airplane seats

Passenger group petitioning for bigger airplane seats
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A group that advocates for airline passengers is petitioning Congress to require airlines to provide bigger seats on flights. 

The group, known as FlyRights.org, says larger seats on jetliners should be among a set of protections for passengers that should be enshrined in an "Airline Passenger Bill Of Rights" that has been proposed by consumer advocates. 

"Public law must include provisions to protect passengers against tarmac delays in excess of three hours, including those on international flights; ensuring their basic human needs are met during long on ground delays," the group said on a website containing the petition. 

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"It must also protect passenger safety by mandating minimum seat pitch standards to preclude ingress/egress and health issues, protect traveling infants and small children by mandating airline acceptance of FAA-certified child seats and provision for their use on all flights, and protect unaccompanied minor air travelers by requiring airlines to provide the services and protections they promise in their Contract of Carriage," the website continued. 

The group, which bills itself as the "largest non-profit airline consumer organization," is also calling for Congress to "address fee and passenger compensation issues, including requiring transparency of all unbundled, ancillary fees, mandating prompt refunds of baggage fees for delayed, lost, damaged or pilfered baggage; and prompt compensation for missing or damaged contents, and requiring refunds of taxes, PFCs, and surcharges for non-refundable tickets when flights are cancelled. 

"Moreover, public law must mandate increased compensation for involuntary 'bumping'; and the airlines’ ability to oversell seats," the group said.  

The petition has collected 31,284 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. 

The group that lobbies for airlines in Washington, Airlines for America, dismmissed the passenger rights petition as a call for an unnecessary federal intrusion into their nation's aviation industry.

"The government's role in seat sizes for all forms of transportation (car, bus, rail and air) is to determine what is safe," the group said in a statement that was provided to The Hill, pointing out that the Department of Transportation has recently declined to weigh in on the seat size issue. 

"The FAA has made that determination," the airline group's statement continued. "As the safest mode of transportation safety is always our highest priority."  

-Updated with new information at 3:28 p.m.