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FAA tests if cramped airline seats pose a safety risk

In this image, a stewardess walks down an airplane aisle offering drinks.
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