At last week’s American Airlines Media & Investor Day I got a sneak look at the airline’s new coach seats that are spaced more closely together than ever before.
American’s 737s are going to have 30 inches of pitch in regular coach, that’s the distance from seat back to seat back. That’s one fewer inch than they currently offer, and two fewer inches than Southwest.
American wanted to show that the seats aren’t all that bad to sit in. Somewhat counterintuitively they argue that the seat won’t be worse than current coach because of:
- Less seat padding. Your bum may feel it on a long flight, but legroom is actually the same.
- No video screens. You may be bored but those take up room.
- Less recline. You can move your seat back as much, but the person in front of you can’t either.
I don’t think you can get a real feel for a seat either way with a few minutes in a ballroom. That’s a totally different experience than on a packed plane flying Miami – Seattle. As I wrote though,
I did find the new seats tight. Are they tighter than regular coach? It’s hard to say. I appreciated that the seat in front of me didn’t recline much and it was easier to keep my laptop open-ish on my tray table. An extra half inch of width is appreciated.
I don’t think the legroom was especially different. I did feel like it was a claustrophobic seat, and having the seat in front of me closer at shoulder level is where things felt tight.
But what is American Airlines really trying to tell us with these seats? Reader Megan took a closer look at the way American set up the seat and caught a hidden message. Let’s call it the Straussian Reading of American Airlines Economy.
Am I the only one who noticed that the magazine is positioned perfectly in the seat back so that it reads F U?
How terribly appropriate.
Let’s take another look:
The executive setting up the seat for display does have a certain Snidely Whiplash quality don’t you think?