Shrinking Airline Seat Size Tests FAA's Regulatory Limits

By Linda Chiem (August 1, 2017, 9:43 PM EDT) -- While the D.C. Circuit has ruled the FAA must study the health and safety effects of shrinking commercial airline seats, experts say the narrowness of the ruling underscores the agency's regulatory limits, ensuring market competition will continue to drive policies concerning passenger comfort and in-flight amenities.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit on July 28 ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration relied on outdated studies on the health and safety effects of seat size when it rejected a group's petition asking it step in and regulate.

However, the decision was not a directive to actually draft a rule. It merely called on...

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