American Airlines Reverses Course on Reduced Legroom in New 737 Max Jets

By Paul Riegler on 13 June 2017
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American Airlines, which had previously announced plans to fit more seats in its new Boeing 737 Max aircraft by reducing the seat pitch in the last three rows to 29”, said Tuesday it had changed its mind.

Citing “a lot of feedback from both customers and team members,” the airline said in an internal memo that it would instead remove one row of its Main Cabin Extra premium economy lite section and install thinner seats with a 30” seat pitch throughout coach.

The new Boeing 737 Max jets are due to arrive in American’s fleet later this year and will still have 172 seats as originally planned. The airline will use thinner seats that it says will give a feeling of spaciousness.

“It is clear that today, airline customers feel increasingly frustrated by their experiences and less valued when they fly,” the company said in the memo. “We can be leaders in helping to turn around that perception, and that includes reviewing decisions that have significant impact on the flying experience.”

The company’s current 737-800 jets are configured with 160 seats. When it announced the plan for the three rows of seats with 29” seat pitch in May, the carrier did not specify who would sit in them. In January, the airline announced that the new 737s would not have seat-back in-flight entertainment screens because most passengers bring their own electronic devices with them.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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