American Airlines President Tells You He’s Doing You a favor by Reducing Seat Pitch and Removing Video Screens

View from the Wing’s Gary Leff reports on May 10, 2017, that American Airlines President Doug Parker was asked about the decision to reduce seat pitch on 737s from 31 inches in economy to 30 inches of pitch for most rows and even 29 inches of pitch in others.

This is what Parker asserted:

“You know, one person goes out and prematurely releases that we’re going to have three rows with 29-inch legroom and causes an uproar. No, we’re not moving towards becoming a low-cost carrier.” Mr. Parker went on to explain why he believes that 30-inch legroom won’t be noticeable. “These new slimline seats allow us to put more seats on a plane while at the same time, keeping the same level of comfort. I’ve sat in the slimline seats and I couldn’t tell the difference. Without having those bulky seatback TVs, you also get more room in front of you.”

Parker sat in the seat for a few minutes.  If he couldn’t tell the difference between 31 inches and 29 inches now, he will probably be telling you at some point in the future that he couldn’t tell the difference between 29 inches and 27 inches.

As far as giving you the gift of no seatback video, American has many planes with no power outlets.  You can’t watch video on your phone if the phone has no power.  Also, many do not even have smart phones.

The fact of the matter is that American is a for profit business that is ruled by Wall Street’s demand to maximize profits. Maximizing profits means providing customers as little as possible while charging them as much as possible for what they get. Normally, competition prevents businesses from abusing customers in the name of profits. The airline industry, however, lacks the requisite level of competition to ensure abuse and exploitation of customers does not occur.

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