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Travel Tip: Despite Outcry, Airline Seat Pitch Continues to Shrink

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Just when you thought airline seats couldn’t be more crunched together or more narrow, American Airlines announced plans to squeeze the space, or seat pitch, between three rows on its new 737 aircraft to just 29 inches.

The reaction, from both passengers and staff, was swift and negative. So American announced it was canceling the plan.

But before you celebrate the victory, you need to put things in perspective.

American, along with many other airlines, already reduced pitch from 33 inches to 32, and then to 31 inches between seats.

Believe me, every inch counts in that crowded coach cabin.

So when American announced it was canceling the 29-inch idea, it didn’t stop the airline from still reducing the pitch.

The new seats will now have a 30 inch-pitch.

That’s better than 29, but even if you don’t find your knees in your neck on your next flight, they could be close.

Of course, this also raises health and safety issues about how much you can squeeze a passenger without injuring him, or if the ease of movement in the event of an evacuation could be compromised.

But for the moment, the reduced pitch seems to be passing the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.

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