Flyers Rights v FAA OPINION 7-28-2017

    The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Flyers Rights and airline passengers a victory, ruling that the FAA had no reasonable basis to refuse to institute rulemaking over ever-shrinking seat sizes. The FAA relied on studies that were either irrelevant, outdated, or not included in the record or under seal. The Court rebuked the FAA for having no reasonable basis for its refusal to rulemake and remanded the case back to the FAA to review Flyers Rights’ petition.

    Flyers Rights petitioned the FAA in 2015 to place a moratorium on shrinking seat sizes and to create seat size standards. Seat pitch and width have been shrinking while Americans grow taller and wider. These factors pose a safety threat, most notably for emergency evacuations. The FAA has not conducted, or alternatively has not released, any tests, whether computer simulations or rehearsed evacuations, that demonstrate that planes with modern seat sizes and modern passenger sizes would pass emergency evacuation criteria.

    The D.C. Circuit’s opinion can be found here.



10 comments on “D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Victory to Flyers Rights

  • I just found your web site. I am so glad that you are working to oppose the race to the bottom in public air travel among U.S. airlines.

  • Not hopeful legislators or courts will take the side of passengers against airlines but they SHOULD. I fly a well known airline at least 2-3 times per year and most of the time without issue. However, on a recent trip, the leg room was so narrow, for the first time ever I could not get carry on under the seat on this plane. And, if I have a middle seat (which mostly do because the aisle, window seats are hard to come by) I literally have to cross my arms on my lap to stay within my seat parameters. I am not a small person but by no means an over large person and I pray when I see people coming down the aisle that I get someone no larger than I am so that we don’t have to overlap. I have had to sit thigh to thigh and shoulder to shoulder with another passenger and it is NOT comfortable. I have had to lean in my seat and end up with a back ache. The seat sizes and leg room on some planes is beyond ridiculous. Good luck if you have a window seat trying to get out! And, if you are tall, you whack your head on the overhead bins. Cattle cars and no other travel options…most are at the mercy of airlines. And then they insult you with six peanuts and 1/2 glass of soda that you try to eat with no space. And, my biggest complaint of late is that “this” airline has now created FOUR classes of seats and the “cheap seats” don’t allow you to select a seat option until time to print boarding passes…oh, guess what’s left…the back of the plane!! So, if I have a short layover time and need to get off the plane quickly, I must pay the extra $50 for “main cabin” to at least get somewhat closer to the exit. GIVE ME A HIGH SPEED TRAIN AND THE AIRLINES SOME COMPETITION!!!

  • So pleased to see this news! I’m a 6’2″, 250 lb. senior who had a very unpleasant experience late last February when flying from Miami to Phoenix on American Airlines. I found myself in a window seat in the fourth row from the back. I was seated but when looking for my seatbelt quickly realized that I had no room to move my legs, hips to get buckled in. The result was instant claustrophobia. Had it not been for the patient flight attendants and ultimately a kind young lady who offered to exchange her aisle seat for mine I would have been in deep trouble. I know I couldn’t have gone back into that window seat. I have flown many times. This was, most certainly, the smallest seat space I’ve ever had to deal with… unexpected and alarming in the extreme. An extra inch or two would have made things much easier for me.

    Good luck with the outcome of your endeavours in this regard.

  • Thanks so much for your action here. Being 6 ‘5″ my legs no longer fit in an economy seat. I have my knee jammed into the seat in front of me and cannot adjust it at all. I can barely walk on an extend flight.
    I have had confrontations with the passenger in the seat in front of me who has tried to recline their seat. Desperately need a minimum leg room requirement!

  • I am so glad you guys took this on. My husband literally cannot sit in the economy with any comfort at all so we are forced to upgrade.. Since I want to sit with him it usually cost us another $100 to $300. I have always thought it was unfair. But the distance from the back of the seat he is in to the back of the seat in front of him is too short for his legs he has to spread them out in order to fit and if the passenger in front of him leans back it crushes his knees

  • I am 6’5″. Because of the cramped and crammed conditions for anyone of my size, flying is PAINFUL. I’ve past the point where I will “turn off everything below the neck” to deal with it. I will not fly if I have a reasonable alternative. In effect, I feel am denied access just because of my size-a size which is, arguably, very normal.

  • The airlines have been given the freedom to self regulation. This is fine when they are responsible with this right,but they have not been. Shrinking sears and diminished leg room and no rules for compensation to customers who are impacted by airline caused delays have been taken advantage of.

  • I am sixty three years old , six feet tall and I have a knee injury that is aggravated every time I fly. My knees are constantly rubbing the metal bar of the magazine pocket or jammed into the back of the seat in front of me. The pressure over even two hours causes pain for days later.
    I am forced to fly in larger seats not by choice but necessity.
    This is discrimination pure and simple.

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