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FAA Testing Airline Seating

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has begun testing airline seat size and spacing to see if planes can be evacuated quickly in an emergency:

First-of-their-kind tests are aimed at setting new standards for airplane seats

There are no federal rules regarding seat size. Manufacturers, however, must demonstrate that there is enough space to allow passengers to evacuate the aircraft in 90 seconds or less.

Posted by
5547 posts

They need to test evacuations with a percentage of passengers trying to grab their carryon baggage.
https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/passengers-would-take-luggage-plane-emergency

...the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report
which stated that four separate emergency evacuations were slowed down
by passengers trying to grab their luggage before leaving the
aircraft. In an interview, one flight attendant told a story about a
passenger running down the aisle with a bag over their head, shouting,
“I’m taking it with me.”

Posted by
5010 posts

Respectfully, if you are holding out some hope that aircraft seat size might be regulated for evacuation times, resulting in larger/more comfortable seats, I would urge you not to hold your breath waiting for that. Never gonna happen. Ever.

The miserable seat sizes now in use are the result of one thing: the airlines are giving customers exactly what they are asking for: cheap, cheap, cheap. The public has come to demand (and now expect) ticket prices to be impossibly low. They want crazy cheap seats, so the airlines are saying OK, here you go. The FAA isn't going to fix that.

It seems to be working well for both parties. If it doesn't work for you, don't blame the airlines, blame the people buying those cheap tickets in tiny seats. "The wisdom of crowds" sucks if you're not part of that particular crowd.

Posted by
5010 posts

They need to test evacuations with a percentage of passengers trying to grab their carryon baggage.

Indeed, this has had disastrous results. IIRC, in the terrible crash in Moscow last year, most of the fatalities were caused because many people insisted on carrying out their bags.

You could fix at least some of that through technology: in the event of an emergency, the doors to all the overhead bins should automatically lock (and everyone should know about this as part of the pre-takeoff safety briefing). That would be super easy to implement and would fix half the problem.

Then they would just need to figure out a way to effectively lock the under-seat storage areas -- without cutting off everyone's feet. That one would require some trickier engineering...

Posted by
4012 posts

Indeed, this has had disastrous results. IIRC, in the terrible crash in Moscow last year, most of the fatalities were caused because many people insisted on carrying out their bags.

I still watch that...mouth agape! It really does make you wonder what goes through some peoples minds.

I love your idea of automatically locking the overhead bins, or maybe eliminate them entirely. Make everyone check their bags, no delays boarding or de-boarding and no issues of trying to grab your bag whilst your fellow passengers at the back burn to death!

Posted by
5547 posts

And there is the issue of XXL passenger's buying exit row seating being capable of operating the overwing exit doors let alone fit through the exit hatch.

Posted by
29 posts

I read somewhere that the flight attendants have raised concerns about the number of people flying now that need assistance affecting the 90 second evacuation times. There does seem to be a number of people needing wheelchair assistance/needing extra time to board on my flights lately.