American Airlines To Cram More Seats Onto Aircraft

legroom plane
big-ashb, Flickr

As if squeezing into an economy-class seat wasn’t already a claustrophobe’s nightmare, American Airlines has announced plans to add even more seats to its planes, further encroaching on passenger legroom.

The carrier, which is trying to raise revenue following its merger with US Airways, will increase the number of economy class seats on its 737s and MD-80 fleet. The news came out after the airline’s VP of flight services made an announcement to the carrier’s flight attendants.

American Airlines says it doesn’t know exactly how many extra seats it will add, but airline consultant Michael Boyd told CNN that for the plan to be cost-effective, the airline would have to install at least 10 new seats in each aircraft. Adding what amounts to roughly two extra rows would mean taking 2.5 inches of legroom from each of the existing rows of seats.Freaking out yet? Well Boyd said passengers shouldn’t be too concerned at this stage. A slimmer seat design, along with changes to the bathroom and galley layout could save precious space. All up, he believes we might be left with about one inch less legroom once the new seats are installed. Still, it’s one inch too much for passengers who are already feeling the pinch.

Airline seat as buffet rebuffed, only take what you buy

airline seatsWhen you go to a buffet, you know what to expect: take as much as you want. You pay once, and then you can consume all that you like. It’s the nature of the environment. This stands in stark contrast to other restaurants, where you pay for an entrée and get nothing more. If you want an appetizer, you have to shell out a few extra bucks – likewise dessert. As a society, we have learned to live with this, even to expect it.

Yet, this changes as soon as we start boarding planes. We want more than we’re paying for, even if it comes at the expense of someone else.

I was cruising through the travel news this morning and saw a Q&A story on ABC News about fights over the armrest. One passenger wants it up, and the other wants to put it down. A fight ensues, unless one of the passengers is reseated.

The question was simple: is it unreasonable to insist that the armrest go down when the passenger next to you is spilling over into your seat? Remember: airline seating isn’t a buffet.


The advice given by ABC News writer Lesley Carlin was on point, indicating that a passenger is entitled to the space she pays for, no exceptions. I was heartened to see her assessment, “Airplane seats are, quite simply, ridiculous,” which though obvious, needs to be restated routinely.

Carlin explains:

But, still, despite the underlying issues with the seats, when you buy a ticket, you’re buying a particular amount of space on the plane. It’s not fair for someone else to usurp some of it. If you live in an apartment and buy a Christmas tree that turns out to be too tall, you can’t just cut a hole in your ceiling and let some of it poke into your upstairs neighbor’s place, right? That’s exactly what the passenger leaning into your space was doing, and that’s not cool.

So, would you eat from a stranger’s plate … without asking?

[photo by InfoMofo via Flickr]

SkyMall Monday: Brobdingnagian Sports Chair

With summer in full swing, we’re all busy attending picnics, parades, baseball games and Renaissance fairs. The problem at all of those events, of course, is seating. Not just whether or not there will be a place to sit, but if that seating is deserving off housing your very important buttocks. You’re a big deal. Sitting on the grass simply is not an option for you. Using the provided seats is an insult. Bleachers? Bleachers are for average people. You’re special. You’re better than the riff raff waiting in line for corn dogs and funnel cakes. You have your corn dogs and funnel cakes delivered directly to you. You’re not part of the hoi polloi who wallow in their own peanut shell fragments. No, you’re above all that. And now you can physically be above it all. Thanks to SkyMall, you can elevate your stature and your person to show the masses that you are better than they could ever hope to be while also obstructing the view of those idiots who thought they had a right see anything. The next time you’re heading to that jousting tournament or checking out a double rainbow, be sure to pack your enormous Brobdingnagian Sports Chair.Big chairs deserve big names. Brobdingnagian is from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and refers to a land of giants. See, you’re learning. Now, the word is just used to describe stuff that is abnormally large. Not that there’s anything abnormal about a chair that allows your feet dangle above the ground makes you look like Edith Ann from Sesame Street. It’s perfectly acceptable to set up shop in a gigantic chair in public. It’s your right.

Think that such a large chair that blocks other people’s views is rude? Believe that a blanket on the grass is the only true way to view an outdoor event? Well, if you could stop picking ants out of your food for a minute, maybe you’d be able to read the product description:

This is the portable chair that elevates your physical stature at any outdoor event. Measuring 5-1/2′ tall, the chair is certain to provide stadium seating at any venue, and its 9′ sq. seat affords ample room for fullbody gesticulations. The lofty seat elevates feet well above the ground, where they’re free to dangle and sway. The reinforced powder-coated steel frame and 400-denier rip-stop canvas support up to 400 lbs.

With nine square feet of seat space and security up to 400 pounds, you can keep those corn dogs and funnel cakes coming well into Rascal Flatts’ third encore. As for the full-body gesticulations, I suppose the chair is large enough to invite of a friend up to join you. I worry about the chafing, though.

No longer must you surround yourself with the idiots you call neighbors. Show them that they’re just peasants by kicking them with your dangling feet and dropping deep fried Oreo crumbs on their heads. You’re special. You’re somebody. You’re the owner of the Brobdingnagian Sports Chair.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.


Don’t grab the seat in front of you – Airplane tip

During your next flight, be considerate of the passenger in front of you. When settling down into — or, getting out of — your seat, don’t grab the seat in front of you for leverage.

Nothing is more startling (or, annoying) than to suddenly feel your seat rock backwards because the passenger seated in the row behind you couldn’t just use the armrest.

Check behind you before reclining your seat – Airplane tip

Airline space seems tighter than ever. Before you recline your seat, make sure you warn the passenger behind you.

Broken computer screens, spilled drinks and bruised knees are just a few of the hazards of what is supposed to be a relaxing seat position. Done properly, the seat will recline without slamming your back against it.

If you decide to nap, don’t turn it into a bed. Rolling over in your seat or shifting positions abruptly while the seat is reclined will launch anything on the tray table behind you.

Be aware — and be courteous!