In the company letter, American President Robert Isom said: "We’ve reassessed what’s appropriate for the markets served by our new 737 MAX and have found a way to deliver a minimum of 30 inches of pitch for all Main Cabin rows. This is the right call for customers and the right call for our team members who take care of them.”
Originally, American planned to reduce the pitch from 31 to 29 inches for three unspecified rows in economy, and from 31 to 30 inches for the remaining rows. The move would have put American -- the world's largest carrier -- more on level with budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier, which maintain cramped pitches closer to the industry minimum of 28 inches.
American's plan was sure to spark some ire, especially in light of a growing string of customer and public relations crises enveloping major carriers. United Airlines became a flashpoint in the news cycle after the forced removal of a passenger captured global attention, while American suffered its own bad optics when an unruly flight attendant got confrontational with passengers.