On my recent trip to Las Vegas for a work conference I flew with American Airlines on one of their new Boeing 737 planes. Since I was traveling for work, I was happy to have work pay for my flight and I basically got the American Airlines miles for free. I was also pretty excited to see a nice new plane as I walked through the main cabin door. New planes usually have the new brighter LED lighting and they are designed pretty well, so it feels more spacious… even if it really isn’t.
Positives of the New American Airlines Boeing 737
- Overhead compartments – I really like the functionality for the new overhead compartments. I actually think that a lot of the new planes being built today have this new design, where the bins swing down and then when you close them they push up into the ceiling of the cabin. It seems like there is actually more room in the bin and when you close it there is more head room above the seats.
- Leather seats – I like the new leather seats better than the old cloth covered seats. They feel more comfortable to me and I’m sure they have to be a lot easier to clean if or when someone spills something on them. Not much can really soak into a leather seat cover, so knowing that the seat is clean makes me feel a little better as well
Negatives of the New American Airlines Boeing 737
- Headrests – A lot of newer planes have the adjustable headrests (up/down) with the adjustable flaps on each side. I like the flaps, especially when I’m on a red-eye or an early morning flight and I just want to get a little sleep. Unfortunately the headrests on the new American Airlines planes were poorly designed. The headrest could be adjusted up and down, but it never stayed up. I thought that maybe my headrest was broken, but I noticed other people around me having the same issue. The flaps were ok, but they were thin and didn’t really provide a lot of support… plus it didn’t really help if the headrest couldn’t be set at the proper height.
Foot room – I was really disappointed with the foot room on these new planes. The worst part is that your seat (window, middle, aisle) determines how much foot room you will get. I booked my flight later than usual and got stuck with an aisle seat, giving me the least amount of foot room. The window seat gets the most foot room and the middle seat has a little less than the window, but definitely more than the aisle seat.
The reason why there is less foot room is the dumbest thing though… Each seat-back has a small TV/entertainment device that you can watch TV and movies, play games, or look at an interactive flight map. The unfortunate thing is that the power to run the entertainment device is in a metal box that they put under each seat. How much room could it possibly take up though right? You would be surprised. I was traveling with a roller bag and a backpack. My backpack always fits under the seat, but I would have had to cut my backpack in half to fit it, and it still would have been tight. I had a hard time fitting both of my feet in the space.
I still couldn’t understand why the space was so small, and why it was so much smaller than the foot room for the middle or window seat. Then I realized that the legs for the seats were also not evenly dispersed between each seat, making the leg room significantly less from the window over to the aisle seat.
I ended up waiting until everyone was on the plane, and luckily there was space in one of the overhead bins for me to stick my backpack. Below is a picture I took of the foot room while I was sitting in my aisle seat.
I can live with some of the issues and overall I like the new feel of the new American Airlines planes, but I wonder if anyone has complained about the lack of foot room in the aisle seats. I’m sure some people probably think I’m exaggerating, but it really is a small amount of space.
Have you been on one of the new American Airlines Boeing 737 planes? How did you feel about the foot room? Let us know in the comments…