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An American Airlines flight in 2018. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Federal Aviation Administration researchers are testing to see if smaller airplane seats can endanger passengers during an emergency evacuation, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: There are no federal regulations on airplane seat size, the Post notes, and this is the first time the FAA has analyzed the potential safety risks of smaller seats.

  • A record-setting 31.6 million people flew on U.S. airlines over the Thanksgiving holidays, CNN reports, citing Airlines For America.

Details: The FAA's Cabin Safety Research Team will test how quickly 60 volunteer passengers are able to evacuate a mock airplane cabin — modeled after an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 — four different times over a 12 day period.

  • The volunteer pool does not include children or those with disabilities.

What's next: Researchers wants to release test results by next summer, FAA spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt told the Post.

Go deeper: FAA says it will inspect each Boeing 737 MAX before delivery

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.