American Airlines To Squeeze Even More Passengers Onto Planes

Things are about to get even cozier on 3/5 of American Airlines’ jets, as the carrier has announced it will be making squeezing in some additional coach seats on its Boeing 737 and MD-80 aircraft.

The airline says it hasn’t decided just how many seats it will be adding to each of the planes, but a rep for American tells the Chicago Tribune that it intends on retaining the slightly roomier (and more expensive) Main Cabin Extra seats. So that means even less room for the rest of us in coach.

According to, the pitch — or space between one seat and the seat in front of it on a plane — on American’s planes is currently around 31-33 inches for economy seats, with each seat being either 17.2″ or 18″ wide. American’s merger partner U.S. Airways has similar pitch dimensions on its narrow-body jets, but its seats are even narrower, with many of them only 17″ wide.

As the Tribune points out, AA will need to be careful about the exact number of seats it chooses to add to certain planes, as those additional seats may require one additional flight attendant, as FAA regulations require that planes have at least one flight attendant per 50 passengers.

For example, the Boeing 737-800 V1 currently has a total of 148 seats. If it crosses the 150 threshold, that’s another attendant needed for each flight that plane makes.