People are getting heavier. Over the next 20 years, it is anticipated that up to 42 per cent of the American population could be obese.
So what does that mean for air travel?
Since the seats were tested with the 170 pound weight in mind, scientists have started to question if these seats are safe enough for today’s heavier travellers.
Even though the FAA has raised the average weight of passengers on planes, the FAA does not require heavier the seats to be tested with heavier crash test dummies.
Along with the weight comes the width. Narrow-body aeroplanes necessitate a width of 17.1 inches per seat, The New York Times reports. That means that heavier people will also have issues with buckling seat belts. These factors could have large impacts in safety in even a minor mishap.
It is yet to be seen if the increase in passenger size will lead the FAA and seat manufacturers to change the way they test the seats for safety. It seems they’ll have to do something.
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