Rep. Cohen’s SEAT bill deadline
Cannot be met for time and technical reasons
FAA finds Molon Labe’ Seat Safe
SEAT Act, requiring a study of airline seat safety, passed nine months ago
“Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, wrote to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell [STET; see below] expressing concern that the agency has not begun implementing the Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act. …directs the FAA to establish minimum seat size and distances between rows of seats on commercial aircraft to protect the flying public, and its provisions were included in the FAA Reauthorization Act which became law last year.
“It has been over nine months since this bill was passed into law, and it appears that zero action has been taken to advance this critical matter. The flying public deserves more…”
HR 302 §557, the section of the FAA Reauthorization Act entitled “MINIMUM DIMENSIONS FOR PASSENGER SEATS”, did not void the Administrative Procedure Act. Thus, implementing the “SEAT” mandate would not be possible in 12 months, i.e., among other things, the notice and comment period would consume most of the allotted year. As pointed out by a Forbes contributor, there are multiple technical impediments to your charge. A third thought in response to the Congressman’s legislation is that it was likely that a technical solution would obviate the need for a regulatory exercise.
Even an observer, who is not cynical, might have ascribed the real motive for SEAT to be comfort more than safety.
A company named Molon Labe Seating, after years of design and testing, did arrive at an exquisite technical solution, its S1 model row of staggered seats. The Technical Standard order, TSO-C127b, found the S1 to be safe.
The S1 is an innovative seating structure that puts the middle airline seat several inches lower than and further back from the aisle and window seats, providing much-needed additional space.
The seats’ design will make the middle seat more desirable, at 21 inches rather than the typical 18, it is several inches wider than the adjacent chairs in the S1 model. Additionally, every seat will comes with its own smartphone or tablet holder, USB port and a latchless tray table.
 Published March 4, 2019
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