Good news for travelers over 5 feet tall - Congress has passed new legislation which requires airlines to give their passengers more legroom and set minimum sizes for seats.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will have to ensure airline seats adhere to both legroom and width size requirements under the new laws.
The 1,200-page bill and new legislation also prohibit airlines removing passengers from flights involuntarily after they’ve passed their boarding gate; seemingly a nod to a few forcible removals on flights which have gone viral this year.
And it seems that both Republican and Democratic leaders agree on the move; the committees which oversee the nation’s air travel are committed to regulate the seat width and legroom over the next 5 years as part of their recently announced federal aviation programs.
The FAA originally rejected the proposed minimum standards and measurements citing safety measures, but lawmakers from both ends of the political spectrum seem determined to set requirements for them.
“Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats,” Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said of the change.
The room between rows have been decreasing over the years, with airlines focusing on fitting more people on planes to maximize profits and because consumers want cheaper flights. It’s been reported that the space has decreased as much as 6 inches.
More great news for consumers under the legislation: you will be refunded for services you paid for but did not receive and you won’t have to deal with noisy mobile phone calls or e-cigarettes. The bill also means that passengers can check strollers if they’re traveling with children, that live animals cannot be placed in overhead storage, pregnant passengers must board earlier than the majority of passengers, and airlines need to communicate better with customers during mass flight cancellations and changes.
The bill will also improve conditions for airline workers. Sexual misconduct will be targeted with a new task force and increased penalties for interfering with cabin or flight crew members, and a minimum of 10 hours rest between shifts will be required.
For those thinking it’s wishful thinking and it’ll be years before something as glorious as more legroom happens, good news: Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, is expecting the bill to move quickly to the President’s desk.