Passenger Bill of Rights calls for a minimum airplane seat size

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In addition to seat size, the consumer advocacy group is calling for more transparency with fees and a reduced tarmac time of three hours. (iStock)

The flying public has spoken and they want bigger airplane seats.

A petition by an airline passenger consumer group is pushing for a new Passenger Bill of Rights that calls on congress to set a legal minimum airplane seat size.

In addition to the seat size,, which calls itself the largest non-profit airline consumer organization, is calling for laws requiring more transparency regarding fees, and to make a new rule that would cut the max tarmac wait time to three hours.

So far the petition has gotten more than 31,000 signatures. 

“Public law must include provisions to protect passengers against tarmac delays in excess of three hours, including those on international flights; ensuring their basic human needs are met during long on ground delays,” the group said on a website containing the petition. 

“It must also protect passenger safety by mandating minimum seat pitch standards to preclude ingress/egress and health issues, protect traveling infants and small children by mandating airline acceptance of FAA-certified child seats and provision for their use on all flights, and protect unaccompanied minor air travelers by requiring airlines to provide the services and protections they promise in their Contract of Carriage,” the website continued. 

The Los Angeles Times reports the petition was sent to the Federal Aviation Administration last month. A spokesperson for the FAA confirmed that the agency had received the petition and was reviewing it, but was unable to comment further.

Some airlines have already begun bucking the trend of shrinking airline seats in order to fit more passengers.  In April, Southwest announced it was adding one-half an inch in the coach cabin of its Boeing 737 aircraft in the U.S., which will measure 17.8 inches across. And last month, following customer complaints, British Airlines said it will be adding one-half an inch to the width of seats installed on new Dreamliner aircraft, making them 17.3 inches across.

In 2011, FlyersRights was behind the effort to get the Department of Transportation to expand passengers’ rights to include financial compensation for bumped passengers and a ban on tarmac delays of more than four hours.

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