Congress Considers Weighing in on Airline Seat Sizes

PHOTO: Empty seats are seen inside of an airplane in this undated stock photo. Chase Jarvis/Getty Images
Empty seats are seen inside of an airplane in this undated stock photo.

For years, commercial flyers have complained about the shrinking size of their seats.

And at least one congressman is pushing the federal government to get involved to protect these consumers.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN 9th District), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is asking that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establish minimum seat sizes on airplanes.

The representative from Tennessee says this regulation would be in the best interest of both passenger safety and health.

“The Federal Aviation Administration requires that planes be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet they haven’t conducted emergency evacuation tests on all of today’s smaller seats,” said Cohen in his announcement.

“Doctors have also warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who can’t move their legs during longer flights.”

Cohen claims flyers have been robbed of 4 inches of legroom and an inch and a half of width in their seat since the 1970s.

Airlines for America, an airline industry trade group, noted Department of Transportation's (DOT) own Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection chose not to make a recommendation on the size of airplane seats.

“We also believe that government should not regulate (passenger seats),” a spokesperson from Airlines for America told ABC News.

“As with any commercial product or service, customers vote every day with their wallet.”

A Super Bowl 50 commercial ran on Sunday referring to airline seats as "a 21st-century torture device." The spot advertised Avocados From Mexico.

Cohen plans to propose the “Seat Egress in Air Travel Act” – or SEAT Act – as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill, which is scheduled for a Thursday markup on Capitol Hill.