|The battle against sardine seats hit a setback last week when the US Senate blocked a measure that would stop the airlines from making seats smaller, in a near-Party-line vote with only one Republican voting for, and two Democrats voting against.
The amendment would have required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to set minimum seat-size standards for airlines.
It was introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said everywhere he goes, he hears air travelers complaining that they’re sick of being crammed into planes “like sardines.”
FlyersRights has argued for years that ever-tighter aircraft seating poses safety risks by potentially hindering passengers’ ability to evacuate the aircraft in an emergency.
Another factor is flights can take several hours and there are health concerns
,particularly with the airlines strictly curtailing passengers’ movement for that duration of time to a small, uncomfortable chair.
The FAA conducts its emergency evacuation tests with 31 inches of space for each row-seat plus passenger. But American, Delta and United all have some rows at 30 inches. Spirit Airlines
and a few other low-fare airlines have planes with 28-inch seat pitch – the trend
that all airlines are heading toward.
Ready, set, evacuate! How quickly could you escape a smoke-filled cabin with sardine seating?
(pic: Scott McCartney, WSJ)
The amendment was defeated mostly along party lines, (see roll call below). Most Democrats voted for this bill while only one of the 54 Republicans voted for it.
There used to be a time when hearings would be held on this type of legislation. But now Congress’ anti-regulation mentality is helping corporations at the expense of consumers.
Of course, most, if not all legislators are “comped” First Class tickets by the airlines
The airlines charge us extra for seats that used to be standard- but calling them “Economy Plus” or window/aisle seats.
A partial breakdown:
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), NO – $92,400
John McCain (R-AZ), NO – $45,000
Johnny Isakson (R-GA), NO -$53,350
Claire McCaskill (D-MO), NO – $37,400
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), NO – $36,000
This is a narrow sampling of the NO votes who have received money from the airline industry. Anyone can research
any bill coming up, combine that with money given out, and know which way they will probably vote.
This was the last vote in the Senate last this week. Shortly afterward, many senators left to board planes
and fly home to their states.
We would be interested to know how many senators who voted against this amendment flew home in economy class.
It’s time to make senators travel in coach from now on.