Just when you thought the negative PR coming out of the airline industry in recent weeks couldn't possibly get worse, think again.
American Airlines announced its plans to decrease the front-to-back space between some of its economy seats by two inches, CNN reported, in hopes of adding more seats on its coming Boeing 737 Max jetliners.
Known as the pitch, the distance between seats will decrease from 31 inches to 29 inches on three rows of the airplane. The rest of the seats in the economy cabin will shrink to 30 inches.
One of American's competitors, United Airlines, is also considering a similar move, according to a source familiar with the evaluations.
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American's seat changes will place the company in undesired territory compared to its competitors. On Delta Airlines, economy class pitch ranges between 30 and 31 inches, while JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines come in between 31 and 33 inches.
To add more bad news, American's new 737 Max jets will also feature smaller bathrooms.
But there is some good news resulting from these changes. Smaller seats means that American can accommodate for more travelers on its aircraft. The Max jets will boast more than 170 seats compared to 160 on its existing 737-800s.
These developments come as airlines face increasing pressure to improve customer satisfaction.
On Wednesday, top executives from United Airlines and American Airlines testified before Congress on Capitol Hill to address a slew of recent, high-profile incidents.
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