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American Airlines Adds Seats and Cuts Pitch

Per a report in CNN Money, American Airlines will add 10 more seats to their 737 Max planes, thus cutting the seat pitch from 31 to 29 inches on a few rows, with 30 inches pitch for the rest of the economy seats. Fares remain the same. What the ....?

Posted by
715 posts

Air bus' plan to have us stand is not far behind.

Posted by
1058 posts

I feel very strongly that the more this is publicized and people express their outrage, the better chance that the airlines will reconsider. Maybe that is a pipe dream, but if we don't start complaining noting will change.

Posted by
1353 posts

Time to get rid of my AA credit card! Won't even care about using my points!

Posted by
6513 posts

Hate to say it Jill, but the reality is that AA won't care if you use your points either, it's actually to their benefit if you don't use them.

Posted by
3709 posts

30 inches is not possible for me, this is getting ridiculous. I need to check into getting approved for work to pay for exit row seats. After all they pay for full sized cars for obese coworkers, and the length of my legs is out of my control.

Posted by
2048 posts

Remember More Room In Coach?

Yeah, AA had that going because just like posters on this thread people CLAIMED that's what they wanted.

But the truth is that when it came time to hit "buy" More Room in Coach lost out to "oh look Delta is $5 cheaper" AA went back to "less room in coach" and profits went up!

So while you can "protest' and complain unless the end result of a change is a decrease to the bottom line the airline will do what it wants because Americans have proven that when we actually hit purchase 90% of us are only looking at the price not any other factors! (Which is why Spirit's model is charge nothing for a ticket and gouge everywhere else LOL!)

Posted by
11455 posts

I flew Easyjet for the first time last week. Their seat pitch is 29". The flight was two hours. I kept thinking through the entire flight how much it would cost to change my next flight, also on Easyjet, to a real airline. Only the alternative was just 30"

Posted by
2526 posts

And the trend towards less space for economy seats is somewhat offset by some airlines offering a bump up in space for a greater price. What were the seat specifications back in the day when it was not so brutal to fly? For longer flights, I am routinely buying the enhanced economy seats if they are available. I just budget it as part of the trip.

Posted by
8513 posts

Jill-- use your points first!

IMHO the seat pitch is too dangerous in case of an​ evacuation such as in Montreal or on the Hudson.

Posted by
727 posts

Just the latest despicable decision by a despicable airline.

Posted by
914 posts

When does this become discrimination against tall people? If it's not already.

Thinking of this and comments in the "should I pay to select my seat" thread. I'm a nearly 6' tall female. On domestic regional flights that AA took over from US Air out of National, they changed from using CRJs to ERJs, and the leg room is getting very tight. When I fly to my hometown, it's only a 90 minute flight, yet my knees are in the back wire of the magazine pocket. Any longer of a flight, and I'm not sure I could stand regular coach.

I know I'm talking about domestic short haul planes not larger jets, but all AA would have to do to make everyone a little happier would be to take out one of the rows on the ERJs. Argh!

Posted by
6513 posts

Hard to say about discrimination. At least tall people only have to pay for an upgrade to a seat with more leg room, obese people may have to buy two whole tickets, even if their obesity is through no fault of their own. It's a bad situation all around but as long as people keep flying (and we will) they have us over a barrel. Even the cheaper, no frills, airlines that compete with lower prices seem to keep adding and adding fees to where there isn't much difference in price in the end. It's only one of the industries that cry out for regulation but that's become such a dirty word and is such a double edged sword that it's not likely to happen.

Posted by
2329 posts

I just flew KLM for the first time and going over paid a bit more (maybe $25) for economy plus, coming home just economy and I really couldn't tell the difference. Even their economy was a lot more comfortable than Air France or United, the only other 2 airlines I've used internationally. I have long legs and have decided that putting my carryon tote in the overhead bin is the way to go, allows me to at least stretch my legs out, no more under the seat unless absolutely necessary.

Posted by
1058 posts

I had just opposite experience flying KLM from LAX to Amsterdam. I am just under 5'8" and it was impossible to cross my legs. I flew in a 747 there. On the way back, I flew Alitalia airline and had twice the legroom. It was a 777. I have also flown Air France and had much more legroom than KLM.

Posted by
11613 posts

So, about a day after some airlines announced a "no overbooking" policy, this one (and I am sure others will follow), announces an "overseating" policy by adding rows.

Posted by
4737 posts

Modern seats are thinner which makes the comfort comparison more complicated than just comparing 2 numbers. However planes are one place where I am glad to be short in the leg.

Posted by
31524 posts

The airlines will continue squeezing the seat pitch down and stripping out all comforts until such time as they get to the point where people won't tolerate any more discomfort. They don't care how unhappy passengers are with these changes. The only thing that will get their attention is when people stop buying tickets, which is never going to happen as there are lots of people who are willing to endure discomfort for cheaper prices.

According to reports I saw, American Airlines will also be reducing the size of the WC's on those aircraft. Who knows, perhaps they'll start installing squat toilets in them?

I've been paying for Premium Economy on the last few trips to Europe, and while that's expensive it sure makes the flights so much more tolerable and comfortable.

Posted by
2329 posts

Yosemite--that's the answer right there--I was on a 777. Clearly I need to make a point to only fly on them if possible.

Posted by
1005 posts

Aren't all passengers supposed to be able to exit an airplane in 90 seconds? Under the new conditions, won't that be impossible? Why isn't the FAA investigating this safety hazard before it's too late?

Posted by
2048 posts

The FAA already approved this. It's within regulatory requirements. Try a new complaint.

Posted by
11455 posts

As Carol stated, each type of plane has a maximum number of seats it can have and stay under the approved regulations for evacuation. The testing is done by the manufacturer. (And they literally do test this.) As long as the airline stays under the test maximum, it is good to go.

Posted by
1020 posts

RE: Evacuation testing. It would be interesting to see what the results would be if they didn't use mostly airline/aircraft manufacturer employees who knew they were there to evacuate the plane. Somewhat like what has been done in the past to test the accuracy of, say, eyewitness testimony (tell people you'll be showing them a film about something innocuous, then suddenly a bank robbery occurs on screen, then asking what they remembered.) I can see liability issues galore, but have non-employees come in, tell them you'll be testing, say, seat pitch, and then give them 5 minutes warning that they'll be evacuating. Let's see if they can still get it done in under 90 seconds.

Posted by
31524 posts

Regarding airlines testing of the evacuation times, I've seen a few reports indicating that they don't test every aircraft. The FAA seems to allow the airlines to just test one type of plane (ie: 737) and they don't have to retest every time a minor change is made in the seating configuration (such as adding a few more seats).

Posted by
823 posts

@Ken - not true. Seating changes must be re-certified by the FAA. Anyway, the 737 Max has already been certified with this configuration, and ever tighter ones, for other customers.

Posted by
1425 posts

I took Delta/AF last year from Atlanta to CDG and it was only a little better than a slave galleon. I'm 5'10 and my knees touched the seat in front of me when both seats are upright. My seat itself was very uncomfortable. Ironically, an AA flight I took last weekend was a delight as far as coach flying goes - legroom galore and a comfortable seat!

Posted by
2916 posts

I just flew Boston-Amsterdam-Lyon and back on Delta and KLM, in the cheapest seats, and was surprised that I found the seating pretty comfortable. Maybe I'm just shrinking as I get older.

Posted by
1414 posts

Wall Street Journal has an online article today about how both Boeing and Airbus are increasingly catering to discount airlines. The article states that Boeing added an exit to the version of the 737 max 8 that they are building for Ryanair. The extra exit allows 197 seats vs. 189 without it. Boeing is also discussing with discount carriers the possibility of a stretched version which could seat about 230 passengers.