Republican Congressmen backed by airline money kill research on legroom and passenger safety

Rep. Rodney Davis [R-IL]'s campaign was backed by American, Continental, Delta, Jetblue, and Southwest as well as airline PACs; airlines were the largest donor to Rep. Bill Shuster [R-PA]'s campaign, together, the two led a House Transportation Committee vote against a government study on the effects of passenger legroom on aviation safety, laughing at the idea that close-packed seats might make it hard to evacuate a plane.

“I see we have some different size seats here in the House,” joked Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Illinois. “Mr. Chairman has a larger seat, do you think the House Administration Committee should study seat sizes here?”

Cohen was not amused. “We’re not in airplanes that are crashing and having 180 people trying to get off at one time to get to a ramp to save their life,” Cohen replied. “This is not about seats here, Mr. Davis….This is not a funny issue.”

Backed by Airline Dollars, Congress Rejects Effort to Address Shrinking Legroom [Zaid Jilani/The Intercept]

(Image: Pasajeros, Daniel Lobo, CC-BY; Flaming Gold, Palo, CC-BY)

Notable Replies

  1. KipTW says:

    Congressmen who are anybody take private planes. Passenger jets are for the little people.

  2. And the number of those little people who perish won't even put a dent in the number of Republican voters, so there's no justice in the universe.

  3. I've personally ridden coach next to one congressman in the past.


  4. I don't know much about this legislation or the research it proposes, but it seems to me that emergency evacuations are one of many things that they should be concerned with. I would think that lack of legroom results in less mobility, which may increase the risk of DVTs or aggravate conditions like arthritis. In addition to certain health risks that affect everyone, decreasing legroom and shrinking seat widths seems like a discrimination issue that marginalizes people who are older, overweight, women who are breastfeeding, or those who have chronic health conditions.

Continue the discussion

25 more replies