DOT group investigates if shrinking personal space on planes creates health and safety risks

The shrinking space on airplanes is surely uncomfortable but a government advisory committee is starting to look into whether the lack of legroom also might be dangerous for passengers' health and safety.

Airlines are adding more rows on planes, taking away legroom at the same time that they are selling a record percentage of seats. That means the days of empty middle seats are over.

A flight attendants' union testified at a hearing Tuesday that the reduction in personal space has led to more air rage, with many of the incidents going unreported.

The lack of space could also lead to problems with evacuations, witnesses said, noting that the government runs safety tests with 31 inches between rows when some airlines today now have just 28 inches.