The man's wife alerted officers at Fiumicino airport, who were able to replace the pilot without the passengers' knowledge
The man's wife alerted officers at Fiumicino airport, who were able to replace the pilot without the passengers' knowledge

The US politician who wants to change the worst thing about air travel

Charles Schumer says the 'deep-seated' issue must be addressed 

Will Worley
Sunday 28 February 2016 18:24
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A US senator wants to bring in the Holy Grail of air travel - new rules that would give passengers more legroom.

Charles Schumer, a veteran New York politician, intends to fight against encroachment on passenger’s leg space on flights, which he says forces passengers to sit “like sardines.”

There are currently no US federal laws on leg space or the width of seats in commercial passenger aircraft.

"They're like sardines," Mr Schumer told the Associated Press. "It's no secret that airlines are looking for more ways to cut costs, but they shouldn't be cutting inches of legroom and seat width in the process ... It's time for the FAA to step up and stop this deep-seated problem from continuing."

Sen. Schumer claims the average distance between rows of seats has dropped from 35 inches in the 1970s to a current average of about 16.5 inches.

He also highlighted a practice used by some airlines in which passengers are charged more money for seats with extra legroom. He says that "exemplifies" the problem.

"It's just plain unfair that a person gets charged for extra inches that were once standard," he said.

Sen. Schumer plans to add an amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorisation Bill, which is renewed every four to six years.

Amendments to the bill are made to tackle issues relating to the aviation industry and practice.

The bill, due to be expire in March, has been faced with numerous problems this year and its renewal is likely to be delayed.

Politicians and industry representatives have been divided on issues such as the proposed part-commercialisation of air traffic control.

Sen. Schumer's efforts are not the first time a politician has tried to pass legislation relating to airline seating.

Earlier this month, Democrat representative for Tennessee, Steve Cohen, introduced the Safe Egress in Air Travel Act of 2016, to establish minimum dimensions for aircraft seating.

It is currently awaiting legislative procedures.

Rep. Cohen had raised concerns over safety and deep-vein thrombosis.

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