A bill to authorize Federal Aviation Administration programs for five years includes a few other things you may have complained about when flying in the past. The House voted yesterday to direct the federal government to set a minimum size for airline seats, bar passengers from being kicked off overbooked planes, and consider whether to restrict animals on planes.
The House approved the measure by a 398-23 vote, sending it to the Senate, which faces a Sunday deadline.
The bill includes several provisions backed by consumer groups, including:
It gives the FAA a year to set minimum measurements for airline seats and the distance between rows. Sponsors said cramped planes are a safety issue during emergencies.
It bars airlines from removing passengers from overbooked flights once the passenger has boarded the plane. Passengers can still be bumped before boarding begins.
It directs the Transportation Department to set rules for service and emotional-support animals on planes, including “reasonable measures to ensure pets are not claimed as service animals.” Airlines say support animals are growing in numbers and causing incidents of biting and defecating on planes.
It also prohibits putting live animals in an overhead bin after a French bulldog puppy died in the overhead bin of a United Airlines plane in March.
Bars passengers from making cell phone calls during flights.
The FAA’s current authority expires Sunday, but Congress could pass a brief extension to give the Senate more time to consider the House-passed bill.