Movie theatre owners across the country are proposing that theaters be allowed to add a few more seats adjacent to the fire exits. The argument they make is theater fires are so rare that even if one happened there is no guarantee that unobstructed access to the exits would save lives. They maintain that their profits are being hampered by overly zealous government regulators and burdensome regulations.
In support of their position they argue that the FAA has long permitted airlines to sell seats that block aircraft emergency exit windows. In addition, the airlines require passengers to agree to become unpaid emergency airline employees promising to aid passengers evacuating from the airplane in an emergency. The passengers seated in these exit rows are allowed to drink all the alcohol they want and are not screened for physical or emotional fitness for their potential emergency duties.
In short, the theatre people argue the FAA has long approved compromising the remote possibility of impaired passenger safety for airline profits on the premise that plane evacuations are rare. Well, so are theater fires they say. They argue that they also should be permitted the same opportunity to sell a few more seats.
An argument we think is pretty darn persuasive.