Passengers win some, lose some on new AA 737s
American Airlines plans to introduce into service today the first of 76 new Boeing 737-800s being acquired to update its short-haul fleet and cut operating costs. The aircraft will replace about a quarter of the carrier’s elderly fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80s.
But passengers will find that the new interior’s represent something of a mixed blessing, adding amenities with one hand and taking away legroom with the other.
The in-seat facilities are impressive: two laptop power outlets for every three seats in economy, larger overhead bins and 10in dropdown IFE screens every few rows, with Aircell’s Gogo passenger broadband service to be added in due course.
On the down side, there are three seats on each side of the aisle in economy compared with the 2-3 layout of the MD-80s. And two extra rows have been crammed in by cutting seat pitch, using thinner seat padding and removing the rear galleys. Journalists previewing the new cabin last week describe the resulting legroom as adequate for people no more than six feet tall.