The Federal Aviation Administration will check that aircraft seats are too cluttered to evacuate passengers quickly, Deputy Administrator Dan Ellwell told members of Congress during a hearing Thursday.
"Americans are getting bigger and the size of the seats is important, but it has to be seen in the context of safety," Elwell said according to Reuters. "We'll find you the answer about the seat step."
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The test will use 720 people and will be held for more than 12 days in November, Jeruel said.
The size and distance of the seats of the aircraft are not regulated – but the time it takes for airlines to evacuate passengers is, Airlines must be able to evacuate passengers within 90 seconds.
Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines currently have some of the most tightly packed seats. Reuters "seat pitch" or the distance from one seat to the next is 28 inches. This compares with the 31-inch average for other seats in the primary economy.
In July 2018, the FAA rejected the idea of setting minimum standards for airlines' seats and legs as a safety measure, but Congress decided to ask the FAA
in October 2018 Congress passed a law requiring the FAA to establish minimum seat standards for step, width and length passenger safety for one year.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Japan Airlines passengers will be able to tell where babies will be seated on an airplane at pre-selected seats.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.