According to CNNMoney, American is planning to reduce it's "front-to-back" space for some of its economy class seats by two inches on all the Boeing 737 Max aircrafts in its fleet in order to pack in 10 more seats. Specifically it will cut the "pitch" (the distance from any spot on a seat to the same place on the seat in front of it) from 31 to 29 inches for three unspecified rows in economy, and from 31 to 30 inches for the remaining rows. This definitely isn't the first time they've cramped legroom in coach. Since the '90s, airlines have been slowly shaving off inches in order to cram in more passengers, nearly bumping up against the industry minimum of a 28-inch pitch. At this rate, It may only be a matter of time before standing room-only flights become the norm.
The move will also make American the first major US airline to offer essentially the same amount of coach seat space that ultra-discount carriers like Frontier and Spirit Airlines do. For comparison, airlines like Southwest and JetBlue offer between 31 and 34 inches of pitch for all of their seats.
The CNN report also suggests that United is considering making similar changes to its planes, which may not be the best strategy for the airline to escape the vortex of bad press it's been caught up in lately, for among other things, violently booting innocent passengers and rogue in-flight scorpions.
The good news is that if you manage to book yourself an aisle seat on one of these newly sardine-packed American jets, there may be a way to score some extra leg space.
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