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American says it will add seats on many planes

By David Koenig

AP Airlines Writer

LAST UPDATED: 01:35 a.m. HST, Jun 13, 2013

DALLAS >> American Airlines expects to add more seats to some of its planes, which could mean less leg room for passengers.

The airline's parent company, AMR Corp., disclosed the move in a regulatory filing Wednesday.

American's vice president of flight service, Lauri Curtis, said that the airline constantly examines its operations, including trying to match the number of seats with travel demand.

Curtis said airline officials expect to add seats on Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets, "but we haven't yet determined the right number of seats, and as a result, the impact on revenue and cost."

Airlines add seats for the obvious reason — they can sell more tickets that way. But it usually results in less leg room for passengers.

Southwest Airlines Co. has been installing thinner seat cushions but is still cutting an inch of leg room as it adds six seats each to some of its Boeing 737s. The makeover will help Southwest boost passenger-carrying capacity by 4 percent without buying any new planes.

American spokeswoman Stacey Frantz said that whatever American decides, it will still sell what it calls Main Cabin Extra seats, which have more leg room and cost more than other seats in economy class.

While raising revenue, adding seats can also increase an airline's labor costs.

Frantz said American's 737s have 148 or 150 seats. Federal safety rules require one flight attendant for every 50 seats, so exceeding 150 seats would force American to put a fourth flight attendant on those planes.

American operates 195 Boeing 737s and 190 of the MD-80s, according to its website. Together, the planes make up nearly two-thirds of American's fleet.

American's employees got an update on the seating plans during a meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, with executives who'll lead the airline after it merges with US Airways Group Inc.

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paintslinger wrote:
Go ahead and add seats you genius's ....take away the leg room and see what it gets you. I swear I'll never fly American for that reason. Bye.
on June 12,2013 | 03:59PM
808warriorfan wrote:
Ever try flying the "other airlines"...there just as bad...so what are you going to do ????? Walk across the Pacific Ocean...I'd like to see that !!!!! Suck it up and be a man for God's sake...
on June 12,2013 | 04:12PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Easy to say if you're not 6'4".
on June 12,2013 | 05:24PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I for one am glad to hear this. I always thought there was a lot of wasted leg room. I kept thinking, what these guys need is to make the spaces smaller and more efficient so the shareholders get a better dividend.
on June 12,2013 | 05:29PM
hikine wrote:
It's going to get worse if more seats are added. This will surely raise the stress level of passengers.
on June 13,2013 | 04:58AM
bleedgreen wrote:
American Airlines is going the wrong way. I think you'll see more U. S. airlines purchasing Airbuses because they're a better design with more legroom, wider bodies and other amenities. Given a choice, I would choose an airline that flies Airbuses.
on June 13,2013 | 05:28AM
loquaciousone wrote:
As a bus rider, I noticed that the newer buses used midgets to design their seats. Normal sized people usually have pieces of their body hanging over the seats. Bus rides however, only take two to three hours at the most. On planes by the time you unwind yourself from these midget seats, you might find body parts fused together permanently.
on June 13,2013 | 07:36AM
Waipahunokaoi wrote:
I think it's a move to keep obese folks from flying since less weight means more efficiency.
on June 13,2013 | 08:04AM
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