US airlines are at a point right now where they seem to face a lot of criticism for the various incidents that become publicized and public relation issues they create. Much of this is likely linked to the airlines putting profits before people as they strive to continue to make more in profit. I am certainly all for a company trying to make more money but when it is an industry that by nature is catering to customers (and airlines do it in the most personal of ways by ferrying them and loved ones around), they cannot forget about the people.
American Airlines Made A Lot of Happy Customers – By Doing Nothing
American Airlines faced a lot of pushback by customers, bloggers, and media when they decided to reduce the amount of pitch on seats in their new 737 Max aircrafts. This would put them inline with ultra low cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier and allow them to
cram accommodate more customers in the aircraft. The plan was to fit 3 rows of economy with 29 inches of pitch and make the rest of economy at 30 inches to allow for roomier Main Cabin Extra seats.
The Inch Given Back
However, this week, American Airlines revealed that they will no longer be reducing the seat pitch and will instead deliver to customers a standard 30 inches. To do this, they will be removing one row of Main Cabin Extra seats to be replaced with standard economy seats. That’s right, eliminating a single row of seats they typically would charge more for (or allow elites to reserve) will allow all economy passengers to continue to have a minimum of 30 inches of pitch.
According to the LA Times, “We’ve reassessed what’s appropriate for the markets served by our new 737 Max and found a way to deliver a minimum of 30 inches of pitch for all main cabin rows,” American Airlines President Robert Isom said. “This is the right call for customers and the right call for our team members who take care of them.”
So, this week, American Airlines actually made customers happy by literally doing nothing! Thank you, American, for not doing anything here and continuing to deliver a product that we would consider more standard and appropriate for a legacy airline.
Of course, maybe this was some sort of trial balloon as well to see how the public reacted to such a move. Hopefully, American and the other major carriers learned that this is not something their customers want (which is something the airline executives should have known in the first place).
Also, think about this – the 737 Max is a new aircraft for them but their current 737s have 31″ of pitch. So, they were able to get it reduced to 30″ on their new aircraft and people think AA did a good thing because they stepped back from the 29″. Seems like American still won a little here…