In a nutshell:
1. they are buying new, more fuel efficient jets…..to make more money
2. they are adding more seats…. to make more money
3. they are removing all screens, etc. from seat backs and you need to connect your own devices….to make more money
Wanna bet they don’t lower ticket prices?
The Chicago-headquartered airline will introduce the tighter seats on its new Boeing 737 Max planes, set to be delivered later in the year.
A spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline Travel that three rows on the aircraft will have 29 inches of leg room – a two-inch reduction from the current allocation.
It’s anticipated that the rest of the plane will have 30 inches of leg room, although this is yet to be confirmed.
The spokesperson added that it might refit its existing 737-800s to the same configuration.
The alterations will allow for ten extra seats to be added to the single-aisle aircraft, a source told CNN. The new 737 Max planes are expected to have around 170 seats.
This edges American Airlines into budget territory when it comes to seat spacing but its doubtful that prices will reflect this.
Flyers with less legroom will fork out the same as fellow economy passengers.
According to SeatGuru.com, Southwest Airlines operates with 31 inches of leg room on its 737s, while JetBlue operates with a minimum of 32 inches and a maximum of 41.
A representative for American Airlines said that customers will not feel the difference, as the new seats have been designed to ‘maximize personal living space while allowing more comfort, even in arrangements like this where legroom is a little tighter’.
The seat width will remain the same at 17.2 inches.
The ‘Main Cabin Extra’ economy seats and 16 first class seats will also remain unchanged.
Elsewhere on the jets, the bathroom space is also said to be getting a reduction. And on the entertainment front, seat-back screens are set to be ditched.
Instead, fliers will have to connect to the airline’s on-board library to watch free movies and TV shows, on their own personal phones, tablets or laptops.
The carrier has ordered 100 new 737s without seat-back monitors, with the first four planes expected to be delivered later this year.
In a statement, the airline explained the move: ‘It makes sense for American to focus on giving customers the best entertainment and fast connection options rather than installing seat-back monitors that will be obsolete within a few years.’
Passengers tuning into the on-board entertainment library on their own devices can listen to music and watch video content for free but to stream or surf the net, they will have to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi. The fee for this has not been revealed.
Addressing fliers’ concerns that their personal devices will not have enough battery power for an entire journey, American Airlines is adding power to every seat on much of its fleet, according to Skift.
American Airlines is not the first carrier to remove seat-back screens and to charge for Wi-Fi – Jetstar, West Jet and Virgin Australia have a similar service on some flights.
The carrier’s new single-aisle aircraft will take off later in the year and will primarily be used for routes in North America.