Politician proposes new law to limit minimum seat size and legroom on airplanes

The U.S. congressman's plans could be a game-changer for airline travel

A politician in the U.S. is proposing a new mandatory minimum requirement this week that could change air travel as we know it.

Representative Steve Cohen, who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, plans to propose mandatory minimum-size standards for airline passenger seats.

This is in reaction to his beliefs that standard seat sizes and pitch - the measurement from a seat to the one behind it - has dramatically decreased in recent decades.

Cohen states that the average seat has shrunk from 18 inches in the 1970s to 16.5 inches today, while the pitch has dropped from 35 inches to 31 inches.

While the shrinking seats has lead to more people fitting on board the aircrafts, which then leads to lower fares, Cohen believes that the issue should be focussed on safety, believing that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is putting passengers at risk because there hasn't been adequate emergency evacuation testing of airline seating with rows set with pitch under 29 inches.

Cohen has plans to propose the legislation as an amendment to an FAA reauthorization bill on Thursday, while also introducing it as a separate bill. If the legislation gets passed by the American government, it would have world-wide reaching effects.