We all know that flying commercial – at least in coach – is SO comfortable. I particularly love it when the passenger in front of me slams the seat back into the recline mode, crushing my kneecaps when I least expect it. Really, it’s not the passenger’s fault. After all, if the seat has a recline function, a passenger should be able to use it without committing a battery on the person seated in the row behind.
Nonetheless, American Airlines, feeling the traveling public’s collective pain, has decided to add more seats to many of its 737 and MD80s. That’s right, they are adding more seats. To sum it up, it’ll be less room for travelers, and more revenue for American. Just where they plan to add the seats is a mystery. It’s not like they can strap them on top of the plane. Currently, the 737’s have 24 rows and MD80’s have 26 rows in coach. How can more seats be added without comprising passenger comfort and sanity?
Plus, there is a financial consideration to the addition of seats. Current FAA regulations require one flight attendant per fifty passengers. So, if American adds too many seats, the additional revenue from those passengers will be offset by the increased costs of another flight attendant and all the benefits that go along with that. As a result, it won’t be cost effective to add seats unless enough are added to more than offset the additional cost. Alternatively, perhaps American will add just enough seats to make the rest of us miserable without having to incur the increased cost of an additional flight attendant. Either way, don’t expect to be too comfortable on your next flight.