Senate refuses to stop airlines from shrinking seat sizes

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is refusing to come to the aid of airline passengers squeezed by the ever-shrinking size of their seats.

An amendment by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York would have blocked airlines from further reducing the "size, width, padding, and pitch" of seats, passengers' legroom and the width of aisles.

The proposal has failed by a vote of 42-54.

Economy-class airline seats have shrunk in recent years on average from a width of 18 inches to 16.5 inches. The average pitch — the space between a point on one seat and the same on the seat in front — has gone from 35 inches to about 31 inches.

Airlines opposed to the amendment say lawmakers are trying to "re-regulate" an industry that has been deregulated since 1978.