Ben Mutzabaugh , USA TODAY
American Airlines is backtracking from a plan that would have given it some of the tightest coach-class seats in the U.S. airline industry.
The world’s largest carrier will still trim legroom on its new soon-to-arrive Boeing 737 MAX jets. But it has dropped plans that would have made three coach-class rows even tighter than the rest and among the most cramped of all U.S. carriers. American says it decided to change course after “a lot of feedback from both customers and team members.”
“It is clear that today, airline customers feel increasingly frustrated by their experiences and less valued when they fly,” American said in a Tuesday letter to employees that communicated the decision. “We can be leaders in helping to turn around that perception, and that includes reviewing decisions that have significant impact on the flying experience.”
American initially revealed the plan last month, saying then it would remove up two inches of legroom from its new Boeing 737 planes MAX that are due to begin arriving to the carrier late this year. That story was first reported by CNN.
The move would have reduced the “seat pitch” – a standard industry measure of the space between the same spot on two seats – from the current 31 inches to 30 inches throughout most of the economy cabin. Three rows of the plane would have had an even bigger reduction, with the space shrinking from 31 inches to 29 inches.