Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Some say American Airlines is going down the toilet.
Oh, not because it’s not making enough money.
Instead, too many people are severely disliking the bathrooms on the airline’s new Boeing 737 MAX planes.
I’ve written before how Flight Attendants have complained about these planes, which have even more seats than ever. And about how the airline’s CEO Doug Parker admitted he’s never flown on the plane.
Because, why would he?
Now it’s the pilots’ turn to explain just how awful the plane’s new configuration — one that will be extended to many other types of American’s aircraft — truly is.
As View From the Wing reports, employees were having a little open exchange of views with the airline President, Robert Isom.
He has, American told me, flown on the plane.
Still, one pilot tried to explain to him just how bad those bathrooms are.
“It’s the most miserable experience in the world,” he said.
The data is simple. There are 12 more seats, only two bathrooms at the back for 160 passengers.
Oh, and those bathrooms are 75 percent the size they used to be.
“I can’t turn around in it. The sink is the most miserable thing going, and you cram those people in those little tiny seats you just bragged about to the point that I can’t sit back there,” he said.
He added that he’d refuse to sit in the back of this plane if he was asked by the airline to fly in it.
Isom contended that removing the seat-back screens (which saves money) and inserting larger overhead bins “are different and allow us to serve customers in a way that we haven’t before.”
Yes, the passengers certainly haven’t seen toilets like this before either.
I’ve not heard one person praise these loos or, frankly, the Economy Class seats that surely try patience when you’re in them for five hours or more.
The question is whether the airline will do something about any of it.
My guess is no, but I did contact the airline to see how it feels after this pilot’s withering criticism. It referred me to Isom’s words, in which he said that nothing is permanent. (Although Parker insists American will always make a profit.)
Isom also explained that it’s all the passengers’ fault.
“Today there is a real drive within the industry and with the traveling public to want to have really at the end of the day low cost seats. And we’ve got to be cognizant of what’s out there in the marketplace and what people want to pay,” he said.
The Economy Class seat space on these planes has been reduced to a 30-inch pitch.
Perhaps, though, that’s American’s secret psychology.
You’ll be cramped in the seats — American insists it still feels like 31 inches because the seats are thinner.
But they’ll feel like heaven if you go to the toilet first.