Senate Dems demand update on FAA's seat-size rule

Senate Dems demand update on FAA's seat-size rule
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Three Democratic senators wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday seeking an update on a new airline seat size rule, warning of potential health and safety ramifications associated with shrinking seats.

In the letter, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Overnight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights MORE (R.I.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWhy being connected really matters for students On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds Overnight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air MORE (Mass.) demanded an update from acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell on the final rule, which must be finalized by October under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

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Blumenthal lobbied heavily for a provision in the 2018 bill directing the FAA to issue a rule establishing minimum seat size and leg room standards for commercial flights and review any cabin evacuation procedures pertaining to seat size, according to the letter.

“Over seven months after enactment, we have yet to see FAA take any action. This is unacceptable. We write today to request an update on finalization of this critical rule and to inquire about steps being taken by the agency to meet the one-year deadline, as required by law,” the three senators wrote.

“We also request that FAA coordinate with the Office of Inspector General at U.S. Department of Transportation (IG) to ensure that the new seat size rule adheres to safety standards,” they added.

The letter also cites health and comfort issues relating to shrinking seats.

“Flyers Rights has cited the smaller seats combined with larger passengers could cause deep vein thrombosis, other muscle and joint problems, and stiffness. These health concerns should be considered as a component of passenger safety and considered as FAA develops this rule,” the letter states.

The senators requested that the FAA conduct testing on human volunteers while establishing the new standards, as well as conducting evacuation testing involving computer-simulated scenarios and current seat dimensions.