(Extensions of Remarks - February 08, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 22 (Monday, February 8, 2016)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E131]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. STEVE COHEN

                              of tennessee

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, February 8, 2016

  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, today, I introduce the Seat Egress in Air 
Travel (SEAT) Act. This bill would direct the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) to establish minimum seat size standards for 
passenger seats on aircrafts operated by carriers in the U.S. for the 
health and safety of passengers.
  Consumers are tired of being squeezed--both physically and fiscally. 
The average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches 
before airline deregulation in the 1970s to about 31 inches today. The 
average width of an airline seat has also shrunk from 18 inches to 
about 16\1/2\.
  This isn't just a matter of comfort. It is about safety and health. 
The FAA requires that planes be capable of evacuation in 90 seconds or 
less, but the FAA hasn't conducted emergency evacuation tests on 
airlines with a distance between rows of less than 29 inches. Some 
airlines fly with rows as close as 28 inches apart. Furthermore, 
doctors warn of deep vein thrombosis which can afflict passengers who 
don't move their legs enough on longer flights.
  Moreover, average seat sizes have been shrinking while the average 
size of Americans has been growing. According to the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention, the average man in 1960 weighed 166, 
and the average woman weighed 140 pounds. Now the average man is 196 
pounds and the average woman is 166 pounds--and both are about an inch 
  This just doesn't make any sense. I hope that Congress will quickly 
act on this bill to direct the FAA to establish minimum seat size 
standards to provide appropriately for the safety and health of airline