The Contrarian

“In the investment markets, what everyone knows is usually not worth knowing.”

FAA Won’t Set Minimum Allowable Airplane Seats

Airlines used to compete for passengers based on their customer service, quality and comfort. Recently though, the competition has shifted to who can provide tickets at the cheapest prices and fit the most number of people in an airplane. Price reduction is certainly a good side-effect of competition, but recently this aggressive strategy has moved into territory that threatens passenger safety.

Read the below article from Marketwatch.com explaining the unsafe practices of the airlines:

The FAA was ordered to address the “case of the incredible shrinking airline seat” by a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2017. On Friday, the regulatory agency responded to that order by ruling that seat shrinkage does not, in fact, affect consumer safety, so the FAA won’t be setting limits on legroom or seat width.

“The FAA has no evidence showing that current seat dimensions hamper the speed of passenger evacuation, or that increased passenger size creates an evacuation issue,” an FAA spokesman told MarketWatch. “During an evacuation, passengers stand up in just a few seconds, which is less time than it takes for emergency exits to begin functioning and for the line that begins forming in the aisle to clear.”

Obviously, the FAA people are dumb or myopic or both.

A spokesperson for the other side said: “The FAA says that it has seen no evidence that passenger size, age or physical capacity effects evacuation time because it refuses to do testing that actually reflects the current passenger population and shrunken seats and aisle widths in any realistic way.”

Our view:  Older people take tiny steps because of fear of losing their balance. The FAA should look how older people walk in tight spaces. In the small legroom of airline seats, the evacuation thus takes much longer for older people than for young ones. The tighter the space, the slower it is. The same goes for people who had a stroke or other medical problems.

But instead of the government setting regulations, it would be better if airline CEOs would get off of the golf course and have a competition of what airline has the biggest seat space. It would be a good way to attract more business. However, apparently, the planes are full and they can abuse the customers until the seats are empty.

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