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American Adding Seats, Carry-on Space

American is making a fairly significant upgrade to its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, especially in this era of ever-increasing bag fees: More overhead bin space. Twice as much space, to be specific.

Bins in the refurbished planes will be able to store six bags instead of three, thanks to a clever design. According to ABC News, “The bins themselves stay the same but American is adding doors that curve outward and a slight ramp at the front edge of the bin. That allows roller bags to slip in wheels first and tilt slightly upward to fit right into the curve of the new door. Voila, space is magically doubled.”

I’ll admit I can’t quite picture how that works, but it sounds pretty good! Unless, of course, the expanded overhead capacity leads to people bringing more and larger carry-on bags aboard.

At the same time, American is installing new seats, as well as two entire new rows of seating. The new seats are thinner and recline in such a way that more seats can fit on the plane. Rather than tilting the backrest, these seats recline by sliding the cushion forward. This supposedly creates more legroom for the passenger behind. American is removing the rear galleys to make space for the seats, which the airline says will also help preserve legroom. Typically, more seats means less legroom, so we’ll have to see how American’s new configuration works in practice.

More importantly, from American’s perspective, the extra rows of seats will bring in additional revenue.

The refurb also includes new drop-down LCD monitors (but not seatback TVs) and more power outlets for using laptops and charging electronic devices. The entire project is supposed to wrap up by the end of next year.

Readers, what do you think about the new overhead bins and seats? Will passengers abuse the added overhead space?

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