Flight attendants and employees credited for saving seat pitch on aircraft.
Flight attendants and airport employees at American Airlines may have more power than they realize, after airline CEO Doug Parker admitted they were the driving force for not reducing seat pitch. In an editorial published by Inc. Magazine, the executive was quoted to give honors to the front-line teams.
In May 2017, American decided to add more seats on new Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft joining their fleet by reducing seat pitch across the cabin. The plan called for the space between seat-backs to drop to 30 inches everywhere, with 18 seats dropping to 29 inches. However, that idea was grounded just over one month later.
Original credit was given to frequent flyers who expressed their frustration to the airline about the reduced cabin space. Instead, during the third quarter earnings call, Parker revealed the airline employees – including ground staff and flight attendants – had the most influence in reducing seat pitch.
“We got a lot of pushback from our customers and, most notably, from our team members,” Parker said during the call, as quoted by Inc. “While we could convince ourselves that that might be able to produce somewhat higher revenues on the aircraft, what it was doing to our perception with our team wasn’t worth it.”
While the employees may have won the seat pitch battle, they face much bigger problems over other issues with the airline. For over a year, flight attendants have claimed the airline’s uniforms have caused them to become sick, causing the airline to cut ties with manufacturer Twin Hill.