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American Airlines Announces Plan to Shrink Legroom; United May Follow

New 737 Max aircraft would shave off another one to two inches between economy seats.

Planes By
Does American Airlines Have Another United Situation on Its Hands?
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s a fresh reason to boycott airports entirely: American Airlines is planning to reduce its legroom in parts of its economy class by an additional two inches, CNNMoney reports.

The airline announced this week that it plans to cram more seats onto upcoming Boeing 737 Max jetliners. The distance between seats will squeeze from 31 inches to 29 inches on three rows. The rest of the main economy cabin will shrink to 30 inches.

As American squashes its legroom, it inches closer to the 28-inch minimum employed by ultra-low cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier Airlines.

For context, economy passengers on Delta Airlines and United have a little more breathing room with 30 and 31 inches. Those flying JetBlue, Southwest and Alaska enjoy a robust 31 to 33 inches on their flights. American is reportedly adding the seats to help offset rising employee wages.

Additionally, CNNMoney reports that United Airlines, barely off of their still-smoking tarmac/public relations nightmare that was the violent and involuntary dragging and removal of passenger Dr. David Dao, is “considering a similar move, according to a person briefed on its evaluations.”

United reportedly declined to comment.