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Getting Cozy with Strangers

It seems that seating comfort just gets worse and worse on airlines. Some budget carriers now allow only 28 inches from seat back to seat back on some of their aircraft, so leg room is a constant gripe among travelers. But what about seat width?

Way back in 1985, all passengers enjoyed a seat width of at least 19 inches, but it’s been dropping since the beginning of this century. The average seat width outside of first class has dropped from 18.5 inches to just 17 in the past eighteen years. And on some flights it may be just above 16 inches!  This runs counter to the fact that many passengers have been expanding in the hip region.

Regulatory relief is nowhere in sight. Despite a lawsuit brought by a passenger rights organization, the Federal Aviation Administration has recently said it sees no cause for involvement. Despite problems with comfort, the FAA says that current seats don’t prevent passengers from being able to evacuate in 90 seconds, which is the primary concern of the agency.

For more details on the situation, take a look at this article on MSN.com.