American Backs Off Its Dumb 29-Inch Plan, But Not By Much

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American Backs Off Its Dumb 29-Inch Plan, But Not By Much

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Jun 15, 2017

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielreed ... ot-by-much

Airlines Giveth And Airlines Taketh Away
American Backs Off Its Dumb 29-Inch Plan, But Not By Much
Dan Reed, CONTRIBUTOR
JUN 14, 2017

Just when you say something halfway nice about them, the airlines’ bosses go and cut you off at the knees.

In this case, almost literally.

Late Tuesday American Airlines president Robert Isom sent a note to all bajillion million members of American’s once-meaningful frequent fliers program, AAdvantage, telling them the “good news.” American will not be cutting the leg room in the last three rows of its new Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft (the first four of 100 on order will join the fleet this fall) to a torturously narrow 29 inches of pitch. No airline in America that operates full-sized jets (and not named Spirit) currently sells seats with less than 30 inches of pitch. Spirit, an ultra-discounter that takes the “no frills” concept very seriously, long ago broke the mythical 30-inch pitch barrier. Some of its seats go as narrow as 28 inches.

And it appears that Spirit will continue, at least for a while longer, as the only carrier offering seats with less than 30 inches of pitch. The brain trust at American heard our cries of anguish and outrage and are responding with what they think is the perfect answer. The last three rows of their new 737 MAX planes will have a 30 inches of pitch. Technically “pitch” is the distance from one spot on a seat to the exact same spot on seats ahead and behind it, but it effectively is a proxy for the amount of room you’ll have to stuff your legs into. Maybe 29 inches of pitch is not bad if you’re 5’4. But if you’re 6’3” like me, well, be sure to bring your Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Naproxena Sodium, or other preferred pain remedies onboard with you.

Isom, in his note Tuesday, explained that American is making the change to its 737 MAX seating plan in response to “a lot of ‘feedback’ from both customers and team members” that management received in the weeks since announcing its brain-dead plan to sell three rows – 18 seats – that have only 29 inches of pitch.

Yeah, I bet they did.

Isom went on his note to explain that “It is clear that today, airline customers feel increasingly frustrated by their experiences and less valued when they fly.”

Wow! That may be the first time in recorded history that an airline leader actually admitted that his carrier had pushed his customers too far, even though that’s progressively been the case for a dozen or more years now.

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