Unless you’re flying Virgin (don’t ruin it for us, Branson), there’s a 98 percent chance that the first thought you have as you exit an airplane is “never again!“ Yes, flying is a super convenient way to travel, But, you wonder as you jiggle your body parts back to life and try to forget the kid who kicked your seat from San Francisco to New York, is it really worth it? Maybe I should find a job that doesn’t require a business trip, end all friendships with people that live out of state, and cut off my family so I never have to visit again.
Is flying really that bad? Well… kinda. And if last month’s United fiasco wasn’t enough to remind you that the airlines don’t care about anything but the bottom line, here’s some additional evidence that flying is about to get even worse: American Airlines is cutting down on leg room and decreasing the size of their bathrooms for your health and comfort. Yes, soon you can pay for the privilege of being crammed even closer to the person next to you and look forward to the inevitable “butt on the commode, legs up on the door” position.
American Airlines (AAL) is planning to decrease the front-to-back space between some of its economy class seats by another two inches.
The airline says it plans to add more seats on its coming Boeing (BA) 737 Max jetliners. To do that, it will shrink the distance between seats, also known as pitch, from 31 inches to 29 inches on three rows of the airplane, and down to 30-inches in the rest of its main economy cabin.
The bathrooms on American’s 737 Max jets will also be smaller, one person familiar with the planning said.
Sure, why not? You want a nightmare at 20,000 feet? Stop looking for a gremlin on the wing and start thinking about just how great it will be when the seat in front of you is so close that you’ll have no choice but to lift your heels in the manner of a ballerina. Just to keep this in context, the ultra-budget airlines (you know, the ones you can’t complain about because you knew what you were getting into) offer a luxurious pitch of 28 inches.
What’s even more worrying (and yes, we worry) is the fact that if this works, 29 inches between seats may become the standard, forcing budget airlines to compete by cutting off even more legroom. We already pay for checked bags (American was the first to introduce those fees), how long before we’re invited to pay an extra fee for being over five feet tall?
Of course, American isn’t the only airline moving towards less space. United is also inching towards less space on its aircraft, according to sources (although United wisely chose not to comment).
Flying was fun for a while, right? We had laughs! We got drunk in the sky! We ate packets of peanuts and pretended they were actual meals! Oh, well, trains are more romantic, anyway.