Hopes for more legroom in increasingly cramped airplane cabins were dashed when regulators, responding to a court order, said they found no need to impose new standards on airlines.
The Federal Aviation Administration, in a letter dated Monday, said the agency “has no evidence that there is an immediate safety issue necessitating rulemaking at this time.”
Research shows that tighter confines on planes isn’t what slows emergency evacuations, the FAA wrote in its response to Flyers Rights, the nonprofit citizens group that sued it, claiming evacuations could be hindered by tightly packed seating. Instead, exit doors are the choke points that slow evacuations, the agency wrote.
The FAA action is the latest move in a swirling controversy that has raised hackles from consumers and prompted attempts at legislation by members of Congress.
New slimmer seats have allowed airlines to cram extra rows onto planes, which prompted Flyers Rights to sue the FAA, charging it was creating a safety hazard.
Judge Patricia Ann Millett, writing on behalf of a three-judge panel, ruled in favor of the group in July 2017.
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