FAA to determine if airplane seats are too tight for quick evacuations

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you've flown recently, you know airplane seats are getting smaller. So what happens in an emergency?

The FAA is going to conduct live evacuation drills to see how fast passengers and crew can get out. The drills will involve 720 people over 12 days and include scenarios like a child sitting in their parent's lap.

The drills will test worst-case scenarios. Examples include blocked exits or the cabin suddenly going dark.

The FAA's goal is to decide on a minimum seat "pitch" that would allow passengers and crew to escape in 90 seconds, in order to adhere to current rules.

Pitch is the distance from one seat back to another. Right now, low-cost airlines like Spirit and Frontier have a 28-inch pitch in coach. The average for most airlines is 31 inches.

The emergency escape testing will take place in November.
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