WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Aviation Administration would be required to set new minimum requirements for seats on airplanes under legislation to be considered in the House this week, possibly giving passengers a break from ever-shrinking legroom and cramped quarters.
For years, most of the major airlines operating in the U.S., including Fort Worth-based American Airlines, have added seats on their jets — essentially shrinking the amount of room for passengers.
The regulation of seat width and legroom is part of a five-year extension of federal aviation programs announced early Saturday by Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate committees that oversee the nation’s air travel.
Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to keep FAA programs running. The Senate will also need to take up the bill this week or both chambers will need to pass a short-term extension.
The bill would prohibit the involuntary bumping of passengers who have already boarded a plane. But in a nod to the power of the commercial airliners, lawmakers declined to include language that would have prohibited airlines from imposing fees deemed “not reasonable and proportional.”
The bill would also mandate that flight attendants get a minimum of 10 hours of rest between their work shifts and require airlines to communicate better with customers during mass flight cancellations and groundings.
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