WASHINGTON (WTNH) — Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants airplane passengers to keep their leg room.
The senator, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) and four other Democrats, wrote a letter Tuesday to the Federal Aviation Administration, asking it to immediately issue a moratorium to prevent airlines from making seats smaller.
Since the 1990s, seat pitch has decreased from 32 inches to 28 inches, and the width seat has gone from 19 inches to 16 inches, according to the letter. While the specific size depends on the airline, the trend “cannot continue,” the letter reads.
The request cites a study that looked at the impact of seat pitch and width on safety. When the pitch was at 26 inches, 66% of participants said it was difficult or very difficult to get in and out of the seat, with 75% answer that it was unsafe for flights longer than two hours.
The study also found that half of flyers had shoulders wider than 18.9 inches — three inches wider than current seats.
The letter requests for the FAA to issue the moratorium on seat width, pitch and for leg room.
While the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, which Blumenthal touts, made the agency rule on how large seats should be, it is still in the process of being implemented. He also wants a safety analysis that includes children, seniors and those with disabilities.