From a time when passengers used to have practically unlimited Leg Room and luxury service, to now, when they are packed as tightly as livestock for hours on end, flying certainly has changed. American Airlines, the same company that forcibly dragged Dr. David Doa off one of their flights a few months back, is preparing to add even more seats to its already cramped economy section, in a move they are calling "densifying the cabin". This means leg room on their planes will decrease by two inches. While it doesn't sound like much, two inches can mean the difference between comfort and cramped.

What will happen

Along with losing leg room, American Airlines plans to add ten to fifteen more seats to their flights. This will in turn, not only mean more money for the company but also lower the fares for passengers. According to Brian Summers, an Airline Business reporter for, "...passengers want cheap fares. They always do. People will tell you that they want more leg room, they want to be more comfortable, but what they really want to do, is fly down to Dallas or Austin for $59 one way, and the best way to do that is to pack more seats in the airplane." In other words, despite their discomfort, what passengers apparently want more than anything is simply a cheap flight, no matter the trade off.

To help with the transition though, there are some small benefits. For instance, along with having a "snazzy new seat" that people "will like...with even less legroom," not all the seats on the plane will shrink in size, only those in a few rows. This airline is also taking other, as of yet unspecified measures to help with comfort.

What this means for you

What this means, is that the next time you're on a red-eye and have to use the restroom mid-flight, this airline will either make you hold it in or feel even worse for having to wake up your sleeping seat mates to get out. Unless you get lucky and don't have people sitting around you, once you sit in your seat, you're even more locked in than you were before.

In other words, if you're claustrophobic or even think you might be, flying with American Airlines is not For You.

What you can do

To avoid frustration, misery, and just plain claustrophobia, what people can do is book flights on private planes. Now, before you go casting this off as a crazy idea that is only reserved for the rich and famous, it actually is not. If a company called JetSuite X has their way, people could be doing for $100 or less, depending on the destination and flight time. In order to do this, they are planning to partner with JetBlue. In other words, if a person books this way, not only would they have more leg room by default, but they would also be afforded amenities similar to first class elsewhere.

Forbes reported earlier this year that while the Jetsuite X flights might seem to be much like a scheduled airline it is officially a public charter.


From luxury service on planes that now seems like so long ago, to being cramped so tightly into pressurized metal tubes where we all feel less like people and more like livestock, the airline industry, especially for American Airlines, certainly has changed. With every passing year, it is as if passengers are losing ever more precious leg room. For people who want a cheap flight and don't care about a silly thing such as comfort, or being locked in for the duration of their flight, this shouldn't be a problem. For those who do care and need more room to move around, however, if JetSuite X's plan succeeds, then a lot of their worries and complaints should be easily solved. Here's to hoping for the future.