Flyers Rights says it is not done pursuing the issue, noting the FAA has already stepped in to set rules around other aspects of airline seats, including regulating safety belts, headrests and fire retardation.
The group's president, Paul Hudson, told NPR that provided there is sufficient public support "and the FAA still refuses to do anything, we may file a court appeal by Aug. 1."
I'm the last person to advocate for more government regulation. But that said, I've come to believe the airlines are taking advantage of the lack of government oversight and treating passengers like cargo.
I don't have a study to back up my opinion that jamming so many people into such a small area is starting to encroach on safety. However, I honestly don't see how it could be otherwise given the ridiculous time it takes to board a modern commercial jet and the almost comical lack of space in the economy section.
People carrying their suitcases into the cabin is the main culprit in boarding, IMO. But whichever way a regulation goes, it should be based on something testable and proveable. If our planes are already escape-proof it should be trivially easy to demonstrate. Slap a GoPro on their heads and “start a fire.”
There is insuffisant competition in the US regarding air passenger transport. In Europe, Irish-based Ryanair is infamous for treating its passengers like cattle, but fights are mostly short-haul and prices rock bottom (with perfect safety track record so far), so customers (mostly young) accept the inconvenience for a couple of hours.