By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The fight for more space on airlines is underway as a recent federal ruling in Washington D.C. ordered aviation regulators to consider new guidelines when it comes to airline seats for passengers.

A federal judge ruled in favor of the non-profit Flyers Rights, that shrinking airline seats creates a safety hazard for passengers.

Advocacy group Flyers Rights argues economy seats are too small, which is posing a health and safety risk.

“Right now, if you are over 6-foot-2, over 200 pounds, you cannot fit in the seat,” Paul Hudson, President of Flyers Rights, said.

Flyers Rights filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., protesting the FAA’s refusal to create a minimum seat size.

They claimed airlines have narrowed their seats over the years, making it uncomfortable for travelers and increasing their chance of getting blood clots, as well as threatening their safety.

“If there were to be an emergency evacuation and people cannot get out in a short period of time. 90 seconds has been the rule for a decade,” Hudson said. “The chances of people dying from fire smoke, or in the case of water landing, drowning, is high.”

The court found in favor of Flyers Rights, and ordered the FAA to impose new seat restrictions.

“Sent the case back to the FAA to either grant the application to regulate the seats, or come up with evidence, which they really had none, to say what’s the basis for saying seats had nothing to do with safety,” Hudson said.

Flyers Rights now hopes the FAA will take action and finally address this major concern on board.

The FAA released the following statement on this decision:

“The FAA does consider seat pitch in testing and assessing the safe evacuation of commercial, passenger aircraft. We are studying the ruling carefully and any potential actions we may take to address the Court’s findings.”

The judge gave the FAA six months to respond to this ruling.

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