Last week, the response by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was outright refusal to reconsider its denial of FlyersRights.org’s petition to set minimum seat standards.
The FAA declared that questionable evacuation tests are valid and there are no problems with shrunken seats and larger passengers impeding escape.
Problematic Certification Process
But when aircraft evacuation drills are carried out, organizers do not use a true representation of the flying public.
Often they ask for volunteers who are aeronautically knowledgeable, physically fit and can tell the difference between an evacuation plug-type door and a backyard sliding glass door.
None of the volunteers will reach for their carry-ons during evacuation or become chaotically confused attempting to exit a smoke-filled passenger cabin.
Also, “There are no overweight, obese, elderly, infirm or children test subjects (or adjustments made for their absence), thereby excluding about 80 percent of U.S. passengers,” said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights.org’s president.
“The tests are supposed to require that 50 percent of carry-on baggage be in the aisles, but the videos show this did not happen. There is apparently no supervision or direct observation by the FAA or outside safety experts,” Hudson said.
“The tests are supposed to simulate panic as this is a major factor in efficient evacuation, but the videos show test subjects smiling and some laughing.”
FlyersRights Will Fight On
For decades there’s been an unsettling question about the FAA’s prime directive as being to promote aviation.
This has led to the FAA having too close a working relationship with the airlines to provide adequate oversight.
Most U.S. Congress members, NTSB and any person with common sense understands that shrunken seats are a safety issue.
“Unfortunately, the FAA and other federal agencies have a history of weak regulation coupled with over-reliance on industry self-regulation,” Hudson added.
“In 2001, the FAA, while in charge of regulating private aviation security enabled 19 of 19 terrorist hijackers to pass through security with permitted knife weapons resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths.”Hudson continued, “In 1988, while under FAA regulation, there were 270 deaths in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 due to airline security failures. The EPA similarly relied on fraudulent emission testing for Volkswagen autos for many years.”
We don’t need more regulation?
For the past week, airline apologists have been coming out of the woodwork asserting it isn’t government’s job to regulate seat comfort or products of airlines.
And, so long as the seats meet certification requirements, that’s good enough -passengers can vote with their wallets.
The big lie is that airline passengers have choice and power.
Airline passengers have fewer options than ever
On about half of the most popular routes in the United States, there is only one choice of airline because of over-consolidation.
The airlines exist to make a profit. This means consumers are forced to accept a race to the bottom.
Sardine seating exists to allow airlines to squeeze passengers’ pockets by threatening pain.
Hudson advised, “Now that the FAA bureaucracy has again rejected any regulation of seat size and passenger space while ridiculing passenger discomfort and dismissing all safety and health concerns, the only likely recourse is an overwhelming public opposition.”
You can send in videos of passenger experiences to the docket, above, or to Flyersrights.org. Contact your Congress members, the courts, the acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, the DOT Secretary Elaine Chao, or President Donald J. Trump, who apparently has not flown commercially for many decades.
Let’s use our power to reverse this unsound FAA decision!
In response to last week’s newsletter,
I saw the news today. 🙁
The video they used to make the determination was ridiculous. ALL healthy, young subjects that had obviously been trained and practiced on evacuation. No elderly, no disabled, no overweight, no obese, no one grabbing bags or purses, no service animals, nothing blocking the walkways., no one tripping or falling.
“But the FAA concluded there is “no evidence that a typical passenger, even a larger one, will take more than a couple of seconds to get out of his or her seat” in case of an emergency.
” The agency’s proof that sardine seats are just fine consists of five videos of unrepresentative test subjects doing abbreviated, partial evacuations. ” Except, none of the videos show a complete evacuation. They only show how passengers weren’t delayed getting out of their row.
“So, a few videos plus a sworn affidavit by a senior FAA technical official, was all the evidence the agency provided.”
It seems to me that it’s time to go back to Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and tell her that one year later, the FAA is still stalling and failing to provide pertinent data, and that she should hold the FAA in contempt of court, subpoena the head of the FAA to appear and testify under oath with minimal delay, and that the FAA should reimburse FR for any additional costs since her ruling, in bringing it to her attention.
A year is far too long for the agency to comply with the court ruling, when every day, lives may be in danger.
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