American Airlines Reverses Decision to Install 29-Inch Pitch Seats

Jun 13, 2017

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Last month, American Airlines announced its seating arrangement for its new 737 MAX. One stat that jumped out to us: 30-inch pitch throughout economy, instead of AA’s current standard of 31 inches of pitch.

But, it was going to be even worse for the 18 passengers sitting in three rows of AA’s newest aircraft type, who would get just 29 inches of pitch. This is just one inch more than what knee-crushing Spirit Airlines provides.

Today, however, we’ve gotten great news from AA. The airline has “received a lot of feedback from both customers and team members” and is reversing its decision to install seats with 29 inches of pitch. Per the airline’s memo regarding the change: “American has decided to space all Main Cabin rows with at least 30 inches of pitch.”

In the same announcement, AA reiterates its stance that the new 30-inch pitch seats won’t be that bad: “These seats are designed to make efficient use of the space available and feel more spacious so a 30 inch pitch will feel more like today’s 31 inches.”

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There will be fewer extra-legroom seats on American Airlines’ new 737 MAX due to this new change.

The number of seats will remain the same on the aircraft: 172 seats. However, rather than having 16 first class, 36 Main Cabin Extra and 120 economy seats, the airline is reducing the number of extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seats to guarantee at least 30 inches of pitch throughout the Main Cabin. The new arrangement will feature 16 seats in first class, 30 MCE and 126 economy seats, which represents a significant 17% drop in extra legroom seating.

While this is a positive development for general economy passengers, this ends up being a disappointing development for AA elites — who will have less available extra-legroom MCE seats.

AA Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites will still have a pretty good shot at getting a MCE seat, as they’re able to select these seats for free at booking. However, AA Gold elites — who have the option of paying 50% of the MCE surcharge at booking or selecting available MCE seats for free at check-in — have a slimmer shot of getting a free MCE seat.

 

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