American Airlines Is Thinking About Increasing Economy Class Legroom

American Airlines is considering increasing the leg room in their coach product.

The airline has been criticized before in the past for having very poor seats with only around 29-30 inches of pitch.

What are the details?

Currently, American Airlines offers a very dense economy on its fleet of domestic aircraft. The seats have little padding, less recline, and no inflight entertainment, as well as a reduced pitch between rows.

This new version of economy was first released on their newer 737 MAX domestic aircraft, before being phased into the older (and subjectively more comfortable) fleet. The new economy class will also be rolled into the A321neo fleet, and as before the 737s, retroactively installed in the older planes during refurbishment.

American Airlines
American Airlines 737 MAX in flight. Source: American Airlines

This process of ‘densification’ was achieved by reducing the size of bathrooms onboard, removing a row of Main Cabin Extra seats (essentially larger legroom) and of course, reducing the seat pitch by an inch. These new changes have not been met favorably and made many question why they should choose to keep flying with American. Some of these questions are coming from American cabin crew themselves…

But it seems that someone in the airline is listening.

American
Lights are on and it looks like someone is at home at American Airlines. Source: American Airlines

What are the rumors?

Twitter is abuzz with speculation that higher ups at American Airlines are considering revamping domestic economy… with a focus on more passenger comfort.

Whilst some of the rumors have suggested that the airline might bring back inflight entertainment, or the scary thought of increased densification (reducing the seats to 28 or 29 inches of pitch), currently it is most likely a extra inch of room.

Perhaps passengers could enjoy something alike the American Boeing 787 interior. Source: American Airlines

This does mean that the plane might undergo some more adjustments, such as reducing the amount of capacity on board.

Overall, an increase in passenger comfort is a win and we hope that American contuines to try and improve the domestic flying experience.

What do you think? Do you want more room on economy? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

11 comments
  1. Onboard commercial flights, some of the passengers are:

    Pregnant women
    Elderly people
    Handicapped passengers
    Passengers with reduced mobility
    Infants…

    Reduced aircraft seat-pitch increases passengers stress, muscle pain, and many other undesired situations

  2. Airlines are in business to make as much money as they can. If customers will tolerate being treated like cattle, airlines will take advantage of that. On the other hand, companies respond to losing business if competitors make a better (more comfortable) product for the same or nearly same price.

    American would only be discussing this if other carriers (like Delta) weren’t kicking their butts.

  3. What’s funny is that the A320s that were part of US Airways are very comfortable and have good pitch. (Not to mention being wider. Something not possible on a 737). When they bought out American, (who was failing at the time) why adopt their seating model and then take it to even another extreme?

  4. Any aircraft designed for flights longer than three (3) hours should have a minimum row pitch of 32”, and except for 737s and 757s (which owing to their fuselage designs that date back to the dawn of the jet age, now more than 60 years ago), a minimum width of 18”.

    Period. No exceptions.

    As the commenter above notes, there are a great many passengers who simply cannot be expected to squeeze into too narrow seats, in too narrow rows just so obscene amounts of money can be set aside for multi-billion dollar share buybacks every year and/or “rock star” compensation packages (not to mention the. despicable tens of millions in “Golden Parachutes” offered to corrupt and failed CEOs such as the one who nearly wrecked one of the three remaining “legacy airlines” in the current era of government sanctioned cartels and the airline industry oligogpoly a few years ago, or perhaps the one who’s currently doing a pretty good job at destroying the airline referenced in this article if – when? – he and his cohorts are finally shown the door).

    My partner has reduced mobility arising from Polio he had as a young child, and although he’s 5’4” tall, he cannot fit into Main Cabin rows on any of the major airlines safely.

    Nevermind comfortably (although that would be nice!); I’m using the word safely because that’s the reality when the rows are so narrow that he must get up each and every time another passenger needs to use the lavatory if he’s squished into a Main Cabin row that has now become so ridiculously narrow, that either he gets up – or he risks a debilitating injury to his already mobility impaired leg if someone attempts to step over him but instead bumps into the leg which was impacted the most by the Polio he had.

    Worse, still, is if someone reclines their seat too fast and it strikes the leg that was impacted by Polio which is also pressed right up against the seat in front of him.

    And again, he’s not particularly tall.

    He and I can only imagine how much more difficult the obscene and immoral “densification” of aircraft cabins designed and implemented by those whom themselves never, ever deign to fly in the hard as cement blocks, chicken coop sized seats, that are densely packed in “no legroom” rows (let alone ever face any kind of mobility challenges of their own) as they expect everyone else to do must be for those who are taller than he is whose mobility is completely restricted due to full paralysis instead of the significantly reduced mobility he faces in his left leg – or those cited by the commenter above who also face additional challenges when they fly.

    It’s all just so selfish and shameful.

    And for what?

    So those for whom life is already filled with affluence and privilege, and for whom the mean spririted sadism that must, by necessity, only deepen and worsen to satisfy the greedy ones’ demands for ever larger “margin expansion” and “pricing power” via “capacity discipline” (aka that’s the cartel club’s code for either you stay in line and don’t “over compete” or you’re dead meat with the onslaught of flights and low ball fares we’ll flood the market with until you “play by our rules” and only offer as much capacity that allows us all to enjoy excess profits from charging $500 for roundtrip flights to Florida from NYC or Boston (plus an additional $60 roundtrip if you need to check your bag [as a great many reduced mobility passengers must do as carry ons are hardly an option for most RMPs]).

    Or perhaps $400-500 roundtrip (plus checked baggage fees) for NYC-RDU-NYC as are now commonly found for those itineraries in this era of conspicuous greed and immorality.

    Oh, and did I forget to mention, those obscenely (criminally?) high airfares noted above are actual fares seen within the past week in fare searches, and they’re for 30” pitch rows in the Main Cabin.

    Sure, those fares are NOT the “Basic Economy” fares, so I suppose some might argue the “option” (theoretically) exists for flights that cost a little less!

    But, it’s one thing when we’re talking $79-99 for airfares if they’re “Basic Economy” (I don’t necessarily have a problem with that); but it’s quite a another when Basic Economy airfares are $350 roundtrip NYC-RDU-NYC or $427 (seen just this morning NYC-PBI-NYC, which is nothing short than exceptional greed run amok.

    In what universe can $350 (or thereabouts) roundtrip NYC-RDU or $427 roundtrip NYC-PBI possibly be justified for the sham that is “Basic Economy” at those fares.

    Like I said, that’s just abject and exceptional greed run amok.

    Anyhow, and getting back to the “rumors” that Dougie P and his partners in greed, shameless hypocrisy and a total lack of compassion might just “add” and extra inch back in Main Cabin rows to make them 31” versus the so NOT an “Oasis” 30” he and others like him whom never, ever deign to fly in those seats for their flights as they expect (and profit handsomely from) as others’ do, here’s hoping this is so and becomes a reality soon!

    Because 30” pitch is nothing more than a shameful – and shameless – greed grab undertaken by those, and which benefits only those, whom NEVER, EVER have to endure the sadistic miseries that they intentionally, carefully, and gleefully, calibrated and engineered simply to better line their own pockets.

    And yes, I would just love to see the day when any of our oligopolist airlines’, or even Boeing’s, C-Suite peeps and their companies’ Board of Directors, routinely and regularly fly in those abysmal and atrociously too narrow seats that are packed into “no legroom” rows on any Boeing 737, 777 or 787 for flights longer than three hours – and up to 17 or 18 hours as many flights aboard “densified” 777s and 787s now do.

    Perhaps then, and ONLY then, might I feel otherwise about the stunning greed and hypocrisy that these despicable cabin configurations seen emerging over the past five or so years (gee, what a happy coincidence that this perfectly aligns with the period after the takeover of American Airlines by Dougie P’s crew at US Airways that eliminated the last vestiges of any meaningful competition in many of the USA’s domestic markets).

    But since that likely ain’t happening anytime soon, then why should anyone else be expected to pay exorbitant (bs) fares for over crowded, “densified” cabins and too narrow seats that our airline industry overlords refuse to fly themselves?

    Would anyone have eaten at McDonald’s or KFC if Ray Kroc or Colonel Sanders refused to eat the hamburgers and fried chicken they sold at their restaurants?

    Of course NOT!

    So, why should flyers be expected to pay for products sold by our airlines that the CEOs and the others who “defend” this (profitable – but only for them) sham of too small/narrow seats “densely” packed into “no legroom” rows aboard aircraft that now fly anywhere from three to 18 hours?

    Just sayin’

  5. I work for Spirit and can honestly say that our seats are more comfortable than AA. That’s saying a lot because ours are hard curved plastic with a thin cushion. AA just can’t seem to get it right and have prioritized profits over guest satisfaction.

    1. You used “comfortable” and “Spirit” in the same sentence. Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning. Sorry, but the lack of padding and the “pre-reclined” (as in immovable and NOT reclined) seats on Spirit are the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat/ flown on. Maybe for a one hour flight they are okay. I can tolerate a 3 to 4 hour flight on American. But Spirit? Did that once. NEVER again!

  6. Agree that the Airbus part of the AA fleet is much more comfortable back in Economy.

    The MAX, on the other hand, was completely built with airline CFOs in mind– not passengers. The EXIT Row seats on a MAX would have been illlegal under Geneva Convention rules– -hard, narrow. Even with the bit of legroom, the seat itself is awful.

    Boeing has thousands of orders for MAX aircraft, so the miserable plague will spread worldwide.

    1. Boeing will install any seating configuration the airline specifies. They’re two different decisions so American is in control of making this change. Only the width of the plane interior can’t be changed (i.e., airlines are stuck with the seat width allowed by the diameter of the fuselage). But the distance between the seat rows is in the airlines’ control. The “miserable plague” will not spread worldwide.

  7. Interesting and well-timed article. I fly Alaska Airlines between PDX and LAX twice a month. But two weeks ago I took the last LAX to PDX flight of the night which happened to be on American. I hadn’t been on American for about 10 years. I was truly *shocked* at the lack of leg room. I am a slim 6’0″ person in good health, and it was only a two hour flight. But it was so uncomfortable that I honestly vowed never to fly American again (at least, not until they adjust their legroom). I have a choice of which airline I fly, and given my options, I don’t choose to put myself in that level of discomfort.

  8. Has FAA done a real world emergency Evacuation drill with realistic passengers (typical age, weight and height distribution representing average US flying population) from these crazy dense packed airlines?
    Also, please give some cushion and lumbar support comfort.
    Finally, the law makers should be mandatory to serve normal food on flights longer than 3.5 hours. Have you tried flying to Hawaii in Economy class? 😡

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