(Bloomberg) -- Back in August, Federal Aviation Administration officials asked the public for their views on how safe they thought airline seats were when it came to their size.

What did they expect?

Fed up with being crammed in alongside other unhappy customers, passengers flooded the agency with nearly 25,000 comments by the deadline on Tuesday.

While many stuck to the FAA’s request to address whether the seat width, length, pitch and other dimensions were a direct threat to travelers’ safety in the event of an emergency evacuation, many also took the opportunity to slam comfort levels in typical economy cabins.

“As a larger woman (311 pounds, 5 foot 6 tall) I can attest that current seat sizes are not safe, let alone comfortable for myself or my seat mates,” said one commenter who gave her name as Meredith Schwartz, of Brooklyn, New York.

“I cannot reach under my seat to retrieve a life jacket,” she continued. “There is nowhere for me to stand to pull up a seat cushion to be used as a flotation device. Getting into and out of the small seats is a slow and complicated procedure. While I have never had to do so in a rush, in low light or smoke conditions, or with scared fellow passengers trying to get out around me, I can vividly imagine how poorly it might go.”

Congress ordered the agency in 2018 to issue rules for minimum dimensions of passenger seats with regard to safety. A 2021 agency study determined that current seat sizes would be safe during an evacuation for 99% of the population.

It noted that passengers were more likely to experience safety issues when using evacuation slides incorrectly, with some hesitating at the door and holding others up, while others — “typically young men” — launched themselves onto the slide causing the potential for a pile-up at the bottom. The FAA also said in a report to Congress in March that passengers trying to take carry-on bags with them during evacuation increased risks.

Many commenters appeared to disagree with the findings, raising issues such as the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis — blood clots, often in the legs — when being forced to spend hours in cramped conditions. Others responded saying they thought current seat sizes were fine.

Here’s a look at a few more comments:

  • Victoria Taggart, Fairfax, Virginia: “Current airline seat dimensions are so small that exiting a plane during an emergency is nigh impossible for people who are very tall or obese. I am obese but do not require a second seat or seatbelt extender. However, getting in and out of airline seats is difficult for me. I have always flown coach. At 5'6" tall, I have seen that my knees come close to seat ahead of me. If the seat ahead of me is reclined, it is extremely difficult to get out of my seat. Were the seat ahead of me reclined in an emergency, it would extend my exit time and I would find it hard to exit the row within 90 seconds.”
  • Matt J: “I am 6’ tall and have a large frame. I have long legs and very broad shoulders. Over the last few years I’ve had several injuries that required surgery, and though I can function well on a daily basis, flying now aggravates some of these issues. ... For me, being crammed in there like that causes numbness in my legs, aggravates my shoulder injury, making it not only uncomfortable but unsafe and difficult to move quickly in a potential emergency.”
  • Jane Brown, Landrum, South Carolina: “You are squeezing me to death when I fly. The seats are too small. Could you please widen them by 4 inches on each seat. What a huge difference 4 inches makes.”
  • Lana Fuhrmeister, Middletown, Delaware: “I recently flew on a Spirit airlines flight where the seat were approx 16 inches wide. I was in a center seat and found it difficult to get into and out of the seat because of the slope of the seat in front of me. I am 72 years old and found that I had to slide across the other seat to get out. I was unable to stand while in the seat. I found that I had to sit with my arms crossed because if I put my shoulders back I would be infringing on another seat. ... I felt like one of those pigs that are put in a cage with no ability to move around. These seats cannot be healthy physically or mentally. My husband suffered from back pain the day after the flight. I would have been unable to make a quick evacuation if I had to.”
  • Robert Wickett, San Diego, California: “I am a 6'5" person. … Sometimes I get sandwiched between two such large individuals and I can't lean one way or the other, and there is no hope that I can ever rest my elbow on one of the armrests between seats. Americans in general have gotten bigger and airline seats in general have gotten narrower and squeezed together. Please help! Like seatbelts, change will come from regulations, not the goodwill of profit driven airlines.”

--With assistance from Alan Levin.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.