There's nothing worse than being crammed in the middle seat of the last row in coach right next to the bathroom. Just thinking about that makes me tense. The Wall Street Journal delivered bad news about those already smushed seats — they're being pushed even closer together! The WSJ doesn't usually mess around with details like these, or ever, so I'm accepting its word that American Airlines has recently added 12 additional seats to its new 737-800 jets from Boeing.
The increase in passenger capacity means it's more important than ever to remember your headphones and set arm-rest boundaries by take-off. You may not be able to squirm your way into first class, but there are ways to hedge against getting stuck with the worst seat in the plane.
To find out how to avoid an even more uncomfortable flight experience than usual,
Ideally, you'll be able to find seats on one of the lower-cost carriers that also offer more legroom (or as they say, seat pitch). But if you're cornered into buying tickets from airlines with less room like American, United, Delta, or Continental, try using SeatExpert to scope out the row situation. The site provides a color-coded seat map for your particular flight showing which seats are rated as good, bad, or awful. SeatGuru is a competitor site that provides similar functions but has a slightly more complicated user experience.