US senator wants government to set airline seat-size rules

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Photograph of Southwest plane courtesy of Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NEW YORK (February 27, 2016) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants to require the Federal Aviation Administration to institute minimum seat-size rules for airlines, which he says now force passengers to sit on planes “like sardines.”

The New York Democrat says commercial airlines have been shrinking the size of seats and reducing legroom on planes.

Schumer told The Associated Press on Saturday that he would add an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would require the agency to set seat-size standards. He is expected to formally announce the proposal at a news conference Sunday.

Schumer says the average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches in 1970 to a current average of 16.5 inches.

Neither the FAA nor an airline trade group immediately responded to requests for comment Saturday night.