(CNN) – The US Federal Aviation Administration is seeking public opinion on the size of commercial airplane seats – from a safety perspective.
“The FAA requests comments from the public to help the agency determine what minimum dimensions (including height, width and length) of passenger seats may be necessary for safety, including whether especially plane evacuation,” the application states.
In a statement to CNN, the FAA outlined additional safety considerations.
“FAA regulations require that all transport category airplanes be capable of rapid evacuation in the event of a fire. Other FAA evacuation requirements address ground conditions, landing gear drop, and exit failure, among others.”
Comments are open to the public until November 1.
What is not up for comment
The feedback the agency is seeking is limited to safety issues.
Matters “such as how passenger seat dimensions may relate to passenger comfort or convenience” are not part of its request for comments, the FAA said in its Federal Register notice.
The report was the result of guidance included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
Several agencies and industry representatives – including the National Transportation Safety Board, the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency and pilot and flight attendant associations – participated in a review of evacuations that have occurred on airplanes over the past decade.
The group provided the FAA with 27 recommendations on how to improve the safety of such evacuations, such as reviewing emergency lighting systems to determine if higher levels of lighting are needed.
A simulated evacuation
Also tied to the FAA Reauthorization Act, the agency simulated emergency evacuations in 2019 and 2020. “In these tests, seat size and spacing did not negatively affect the success of emergency evacuations,” according to a letter that was added to the FAA’s March report from agency administrator Steve Dickson.
The FAA noted that their simulations involved able-bodied adult subjects younger than 60, consistent with accepted standards for human testing.
The invitation to comment gives the public an opportunity to provide information about safe seat dimensions for children, passengers over 60 and people with disabilities, the agency said in its letter to Congress.
In its notice seeking comments, the FAA noted that it is particularly interested in data and technical information.
Top image: Airplane seats (Adobe Stock)
CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.