Coming Soon? Less Legroom on American

American Airlines announced plans to add seats to more than half of its planes, most likely shrinking the already modest amount of space in coach.

American Airlines announced plans to add seats to more than half of its planes, most likely shrinking the already modest amount of space in coach.

American will add seats to Boeing 737 and MD-80 planes, which make up more than 60 percent of the airline’s fleet. The exact number of seats to be added to the aircraft is yet to be determined. But virtually any amount of extra seats added to a plane’s interior will cause a reduction in seat pitch.

The leg-crunching plan was announced this week at a “Town Hall” meeting in Ft. Worth, according to a report from Dallas News.

When we reached out to American about this matter, a spokesperson from the airline told us, “We continually evaluate the configuration of our fleet, and make adjustments when appropriate to match supply to demand, while remaining competitive within the industry. Although we expect to add seats to the 737 and MD-80 fleets, we are evaluating the right number of seats and the impact on revenue and cost while retaining our Main Cabin Extra product. As we work through plans to integrate our two airlines, our leaders are evaluating every aspect of the business to make sure that any new decisions are right for the combined carrier.”

Main Cabin Extra is American’s premium-economy product. It’s the front part of coach-class seating, which features up to six inches of extra legroom and early boarding for a fee. As it stands, seat pitch in run-of-the-mill economy class on American’s Boeing 737 and MD-80 planes runs between 31 and 32 inches, according to our sister site SeatGuru; but this, it seems, is about to change.

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By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe, AOL.com, MSNBC.com, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and CruiseCritic.com, among other publications.

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