Flying Public Finally Fights Back

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Here’s a teensy little bit of good news for you:

After a wave of pushback, American Airlines said Tuesday that it would not reduce the distance between economy seats on some of its new airplanes to make space for higher-priced seats near the front….American Airlines said in a statement Tuesday that it “received a lot of feedback from both customers and team members” about its plans to squeeze the pitch by one inch on those seats.

“It is clear that today, airline customers feel increasingly frustrated by their experiences and less valued when they fly,” the airline said.

I would provide my own interpretation of what this “feedback” was like, but this is a family site. Let’s just say that “increasingly frustrated” and “less valued” would more accurately be translated as “boiling with rage” and “treated like pieces of shit.” Oops. Family site. Make that “treated like flying fecal material.”

Anyway, at least we seem to have finally gotten a quantitative assessment of how far people can be pushed. American’s plan was to reduce legroom from 30 inches to 29 inches, and that was the final straw. So I guess 30 inches will now become the industry standard. For most of you, this actually doesn’t matter much. For us tall folks, it’s pretty intolerable. It’s one reason (among several) that I avoid flying at all costs these days.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend