FAA ordered to examine airline seat sizes

A federal judge responded to an advocacy group's flyers' rights request by calling on the FAA to take a closer look at the amount of space passengers have on commercial planes.
3:21 | 07/31/17

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Transcript for FAA ordered to examine airline seat sizes
We are back now with what a judge is calling the case of the incredible shrinking airline seats. The FAA has now been ordered to take a closer look and T.J. Holmes is taking a closer look for us. What's up, T.J. Your comfort is not the FAA's problem. That's why for years they've rejected calls and complaints to regulate the size and leg room of airline seats, because that's not their issue, nur comfort. Their issue however is safety. That is in their purview and now a court is arguing that an uncomfortable seat might also be an unsafe one. We've seen cabin confrontations lead to shocking scenes like this. Oh, my god. Reporter: And drestressed out passengers over cancellations and delays. These are the friendly skies? You stay out of this! Reporter: And on top of all that, as the cabin pressure is rising, leg room is shrinking. Now a federal judge is calling on the FAA to take a closer look at the amount of space passengers have on commercial planes, responding to advocacy group, fliers rights request that the FAA step in and finally regulate seat sizing. During the certification of the aircraft, the FAA looks at how quickly all the passengers can get off the airplane in the event of an accident. There's a great difference between people who are trying to get off the aircraft in a test and what happens in a real accident when people see fire, smokes, flames. They react differently. Reporter: According to fliers rights, seat widths have decreased an inch and a half since the early 2000s and say the space between seats has decreased from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches. Some bargain airlines like frontier and spirit have just 28 inches of leg room. The seats really were designed for the way people were in the 1950s and obviously people have gotten larger, they've gotten older, they've gotten taller. Reporter: All right, gotten taller. 6'5" these days apparently. People getting bigger? They are. We have smaller seats and human beings -- literally Americans are getting larger and this is an issue. You got a guy 6'6'5", like stray. He's sitting in a seat. This is a luxury these days, that's 35 inches that you have right now when it comes to room. Fellas can y'all help me out. This is before they lean back. This is before they lean. A lot are going to 31 inches and you can't even move the seat all the way back. I'm going to have toet to know my neighbor real well. But some argue that the reason they are doing this and they want smaller seats, you can get more seats on the plane and the argument is you got more seats on the plane, we can spread the wealth when it comes to prices. So if they have to have fewer seats on the plane, maybe the prices will go up. That's one argument that some people are making. You don't buy it. I don't -- it doesn't do me any good because I can't sit to go anywhere anyway. I think people want a little more room for a few more dollars. As a matter of fact, let's move this out of here so I can -- Some people are using 28 inches, the low cost airlines. Yes, a lot of people are shocked by that but, yes, they say it's better for the cost. The interest makes is that they would pass that savings to us, the consumer. We would have to see about that. You have to trust the airline. Of course we do. Thanks, T.J. Thanks. Stray.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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