• Do crowded airplanes cause safety hazard?

    Photo courtesy of Flickr user "Caribb."

    Photo courtesy of Flickr user “Caribb.”

    Crowded airplanes and narrow spaces between rows of seating are not just drawing complaints and consternation from travelers: Now they’ve attracted the attention of a U.S. government panel.

    Air rage and difficulty in evacuation were  among the topics raised by a consumer group set up by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press writes.

    The Federal Aviation Administration tests how quickly a plane can be evacuated. However, they test with planes that have 31 inches of room between seats, also known as the “pitch.” Some airlines set their seats closer together.

    And that makes it problematic, because the space for a human passenger on an airplane has shrunk.

    From the story:

    Charlie Leocha, the consumer representative on the committee, said the government sets standards for the conditions for dogs flying as cargo but doesn’t dictate minimum space standards for passengers.

    “In a world where animals have more rights to space and food than humans,” Charlie Leocha, the committee’s consumer representative, said. “It is time that the DOT and FAA take a stand for humane treatment of passengers.”

    You can read the full AP story on any of hundreds of websites. Here’s a link to one of them.