In order to add more seats to its upcoming order of Boeing planes, American Airlines needs to shrink legroom in its coach section.
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Cramped airline seats are a top complaint of air travelers these days. Now, passengers may soon have even more to complain about on some American Airlines flights.
The USA’s biggest carrier will reduce legroom by up two inches in the economy cabin of its new Boeing 737 MAX jets that will begin arriving to the airline later this year.
That’s according to CNN, which was the first to report the news. The network adds United is said to be considering a similar change, “according to a person briefed on its evaluations.” United declined to comment to CNN.
As for the details of the changes at American, the “seat pitch” – a standard industry measure of the space between the same spot between two seats – will shrink from the current 31 inches to 30 inches throughout most of the economy cabin on the company’s new 737 MAX planes. Three rows of the plane will have an even bigger reduction, with the space shrinking from 31 inches to 29 inches. Those rows will be the last two on the aircraft as well as one other row closer to the front.
American tells CNN the tighter seating configuration may also be extended to its existing 737-800 plans, but says it has not yet decided.
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“With the change,” writes CNN’s Jon Ostrower, “American will become the first large U.S. carrier to offer legroom with a pitch that’s nearly on par with ultra-low cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Those seats are an industry minimum 28-inches apart.”