This file photo from March 16, 2017, shows the interior of a commercial airliner at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

 

It’s official: The U.S. government will soon regulate the distance between airline seats.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation passed by Congress that extends FAA policy for another five years. The FAA Reauthorization Bill includes several provisions that will affect air travelers.

One provision that’s attracted the most attention is the “Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act,” which directs the FAA to set standards for the size of airline seats. The agency has one year to come up with minimum requirements for seat width and for the space between seats.

While many have praised the bill as an attempt airlines to continuing to shrink seat sizes, there’s no guarantee that will happen.

The FAA will have to come up with regulations on minimum permissible seats sizes on commercial flights. But it’s unclear what rules the agency might ultimately adopt. It is possible that the FAA’s rules could ultimately end up codifying the tightest seating arrangements already offered on U.S. airlines.

Elsewhere, the FAA bill is also notable for what is not included.

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