Several weeks ago, news broke that some seats on American Airlines’ new 737 MAX aircraft would have a 29-inch pitch – marking a new legroom low for major U.S. carriers. But now American has apparently had a change of heart.
That could be due to a raft of comments on TravelSkills and elsewhere that fiercely condemned the move. On our post, PP wrote: “I hate the thought of more regulation, but seriously — it’s like they’re asking for the Feds to step in….”
American sent out a memo stating that based on feedback from customers and employees, it has decided to scrap the 29-inch pitch, which would have affected three rows of seats on the new planes. The other seats in regular economy would have 30-inch pitch.
That’s the good news. On the other hand, American will reportedly stand by its plan to provide a 30-inch pitch for regular economy seating on the new planes, giving just an extra inch to those three tight rows. American currently provides 31-inch pitch on its 737-800s in economy class, and pitches of 30-31 inches on A319s, 31 on A320s and 31-32 on A321s.
And giving back that extra inch will also mean a reconfiguration for AA’s 737 MAXs. They’ll still have 172 seats, but the Main Cabin Extra seating (American’s extra-legroom economy product) will be reduced from 36 to 30 (one row), while regular economy will increase from 120 to 126 seats. The new aircraft will still have 16 first class seats.
As for the standard 30-inch pitch throughout the economy section, American’s memo said the MAX seats will make more efficient use of space, so that “a 30-inch pitch will feel more like today’s 31 inches.” (That’s what she said! LOL. Sorry I could not resist…)
American has ordered 100 of the next-generation 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing.
Small as American’s giveback may be in the pitch department, at least it might prevent its legacy competitors from transitioning to a 29-inch pitch, which would effectively eliminate one of the key differences between them and the ultra-low-cost airlines.
Why do you think American caved on this one? Please leave your comments below.