We’re about to find out if airlines really did stuff too many seats on their planes. We might not like the result

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Forget comfort, are these seats, on display by Spirit Airlines at an airline industry conference in Los Angeles last month, too close to be safe? The FAA will test to see if U.S. airlines meet evacuation time requirements

Many Americans will likely be rooting for 720 volunteers to fail, miserably, when they participate in a series of FAA tests next month to see if today’s larger, wider and taller passengers can safely evacuate an airplane in less than 90 seconds.

But if those volunteers do fail it could become for the rest of us the best illustration ever of the old warning to be careful for what you wish – you just might get it.

Upon orders contained in legislation passed last year by Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration in November will conduct 12 days of aircraft emergency evacuation tests. Last year, when Congress was considering the bill to reauthorize the FAA and its administration of safe air operations in this country not nearly enough votes could be mustered to support various proposals reintroduce elements of economic regulation back into the world of air travel. But so incensed were our federal lawmakers by U.S. airlines’ maniacal stuffing of more and more seats – each of them seemingly designed by medieval torture machine makers – into their planes that a large majority in both houses eagerly voted to order the FAA to conduct a new round of evacuation tests.

Continue reading… “We’re about to find out if airlines really did stuff too many seats on their planes. We might not like the result”

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