WASHINGTON — The Senate refused Thursday to come to the aid of airline passengers squeezed by the ever-shrinking size of their seats.

An amendment by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would have blocked airlines from further reducing the “size, width, padding, and pitch” of seats, passengers’ legroom and the width of aisles. “It costs you an arm and a leg just to have room for your arms and legs,” Schumer said.

The amendment also would have required the Federal Aviation Administration to set standards for the minimum amount of space airlines must provide passengers for their “safety, health and comfort.” Airlines would have had to post the size of their seats on their websites so that consumers could take that into consideration when buying tickets.

The proposal failed on a vote of 42-54, with all but three Democrats in favor and all but one Republican against.

Economy-class airline seats have shrunk in recent years on average from a width of 18 inches to 16.5 inches. The average pitch – the space between a point on one seat and the same on the seat in front of it – has gone from 35 inches to about 31 inches.