Ever feel like you're progressively getting less and less comfortable on flights? Is your booty in a constant state of squish from those narrow seats? You are not alone and you're finally about to get some justice. Maybe.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was just ordered by a judge to consider setting a minimum standard for airline seats. This means that hopefully, there will be more regulations in place for too-narrow seats.

Flying seats too narrow
photo: This is Meagan Kerr

The problem is airlines tout their extra legroom seats like a trophy, while using them to gloss over the fact that their seats have, in fact, been getting smaller.

“This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote. “As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers
have been growing in size.”

But exactly how much smaller have the seats been getting? Spoiler alert: It's a lot.

According to nonprofit advocacy group Flyers Rights, average seat width jumped from approximately 18.5 inches in the early-2000s to 17 inches in the early-to-mid-2010s. That's one and a half inches of butt wiggle room!

photo: Goodreads

Additionally, the space between rows on planes has shrunk too, from 35 inches to anywhere from 28 to 31 inches. 

Making aisles and seats bigger isn't just a comfort issue — it's a safety one, as well. Narrow seats and aisles make it more difficult to exit the plane in the case of an emergency. 

It's a financial matter, too: plus-size customers are sometimes forced to buy two seats or bump up to first class if they want to board a flight. 

Don't hold your breath for any immediate change, however: the FAA is examining their current standards and studying the court documents. As to when we can expect seats to not cut off our circulation? Stay tuned.