American Airlines’ is retrofitting its 76 737-800s in a move that will double the capacity of the overhead bins, bring electrical outlets to more seats, enable WiFi, add drop-down LCD screens, and decrease legroom.
Yes, the airline that once brought us "more room throughout coach" is adding two more rows of seats. AA promises that the news seats will recline without bothering the passenger behind. There are pros and cons to this "enhancement". The new slimline seats may be more comfortable and explain why two more rows are being added, but I suspect that recline will be even more restricted than it is already is.
I happen to be one of the travelers who would rather have more recline in economy class, even if that meant my knees were a bit less comfortable when the passenger in front of me reclines. A few extra degrees of recline helps me to sleep.
AA will also rip out the old overhead monitors that run down the center aisle and install flip-down LCD screens. WiFi and more electrical outlets are coming too. Continental and Delta has seatback IFE on many of its 737s and I think it is unfortunate that AA deemed it not worthwhile to spend the additional cash to put a screen behind each seat. TVs and movies on demand make less legroom much more bearable…
Changes are being completed at a rapid pace. Four aircraft are being worked on at a time by a 350-person team. 68 aircraft have yet to be retrofitted with eight already complete.