American Airlines Becomes “Cram”-erican Airlines With More Seats

Say good-bye to leg room as American Airlines looks to add more seats.
American Airlines Jet
American Airlines Jet
Photo Credit: Patrick Cardinal

Say good-bye to legroom coach section. American Airlines is planning to add more seats.

American looks to pack more seats into their Boeing 737s and McDonnell Douglass MD-80s. According to CNN Money, Lauri Curtis, the airline’s vice president of flight services, revealed this information in a statement to the airline’s flight attendants. Curtis said, “We expect to add seats to the 737 and MD-80 fleets, but we haven’t yet determined the right number of seats.”

American is hoping to generate more revenue with this move. CNN also said that by law, American Airlines would be forced to put one additional flight attendant on those flights. There must be one flight attendant for every 50 seats, and this change would put them over 150 seats on the 737s. The MD-80s currently seat 140 passengers. This move would have American’s MD-80s hold over 140 passengers for the first time since 1989, when they held 142.

Fox Business News said that according to American’s website, they fly 195 737s, and 190 MD-80s. The two planes account for about two-thirds of their fleet, and according to Fox Business News, 55 percent of its total seat capacity.

NPR said there will still be some seats with legroom after all. According to NPR, Stacey Fritz, an American Airlines spokeswoman, said American will sell Main Cabin Extra seats, which have more legroom, but are also more expensive tickets than economy class. Michael Boyd, an airline consultant with Boyd Group International said the passengers would not really lose that much legroom anyway. Boyd said passengers would only lose another inch.

American is still working on how they will reconfigure their seating arrangements. Travelers Today recommends American to take a page out of Southwestern Airlines’ playbook. Install thinner seat cushions. It adds seats, it only cuts legroom by one inch, and they boosted seat capacity by 4 percent.

This move will receive a negative reception. Twitter has already shown public disdain. One Sheldon Senek tweeted, “As if I wasn’t intimate enough with the person in front of me.”

American will still probably benefit from this business move. Many people prefer flying over long drives. They will suck it up and deal with longer lines. The passenger’s top priority is getting where they need to go, no matter how long it takes.

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