How the Government Shut Down Could Make Air Travel Better

Edward Russell points out that while a government shut down doesn’t interfere with air traffic control and TSA’s front line screeners — both considered essential — that the FAA’s registration office closes and that could delay new aircraft deliveries.

That would delay American Airlines taking delivery of more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with just 30 inches between seats, no seat back video, and shrunken lavatories that let the airline squeeze in an extra row of seats.

Despite this being the ‘new standard interior’ for American Airlines, their CEO admits he hasn’t flown it.

So far the airline has received only a handful of the 100 it has ordered. I took the inaugural flight at the end of November and realized that legroom has even been compressed in the extra legroom seats and first class has been downgraded, too.

The longer the government shut down continues, the longer it will be until American Airlines can register more of these planes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wonder if American even has a product development department since being consumed by USAIR, or, is every aspect of the customer experience now controlled and run by finance? How are such inappropriate seats selected–models testing the comfort level, or, a catalogue with SKU numbers and prices presented to Parker? And what was marketing’s input? Who misled Parker to think the demographics of flyers has changed overnight to all being so svelte? How soon will the litigation commence when a passenger is injured in the miniature bathroom or pathetic seats? Who can guess what will happen if their has to be an emergency disembarking of the flight?

    Curious why AA’s Board of Directors remain so solemn and quiet, apparently unaware that their connivance to jeopardize safety, health, and comfort will list them on the same papers filed in court?

  2. Gary,

    Shutting down the government affects all government employees that will lose their income. Most government workers live paycheck to paycheck. It’s a very real issue for the ‘everyman’ that works for the government. When my wife ran a governmental office, she heard horror stories from all of her employees. They live paycheck to paycheck, and they’re not in the DYKWIA crowd. Unlike me and you, government employees have good reason to worry. No money coming in – no money to pay your bills ie rent/food/school and on it goes.

    End editorial comment.

  3. @dhammer53. Then maybe the government workers should obtain better paying more secure jobs in the private sector.

  4. @Other, some of those jobs are better paying. Traditionally, government/city/state jobs have been better than private sector jobs in terms of safety.

    The problem is that many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.

  5. “The longer the government shut down continues, the longer it will be until American Airlines can register more of these planes.” – are you serious with this garbage? The harm that is being done to the country along with what it is costing the US is not something to be flippant about. Many people will have their lives adversely impacted if this shutdown drags and I hardly think its remotely appropriate to be soo flippant about something like leg room.

  6. @dhammer53. According to the Cato Institute (as cited in 12/21/15 Huntington Post article), “In 2014, the average federal employee salary was $84,153, approximately 50% more than the average private sector worker earned. This discrepancy increases to 78% when benefits are included.” Moreover, as you pointed out, public sector jobs are more secure. In every government shutdown in recent history, government employees received their pay retroactively. The point in my snarky comment was that Federal get paid more, have more secure jobs, and receive their pay retroactively when these temporary shutdowns end.

    Private sector workers (who create the GNP that funds the government) do not have a deal nearly as good as this. Yet when a shutdown occurs, there are massive media campaign about the poor government worker that will suffer incredible harm, due to a partial shutdown of the government. What did Bill just say: “Many people will have their lives adversely impacted”. Yea sure Bill, like Feinstein warned “people” will “die”. Seriously, it is not the end of the world if non-essential parts the massive Federal Government shut down for a while.

  7. @iahphx well i’m sorry you don’t appreciate my sense of humor, but if you think this post caused the blog to jump the shark then it probably happened sometime back in 2002 or 2003.

  8. Its greatly amusing me the ways in which you are finding to tie anything to shit on AA these last few months. And its all well deserved so keep it up 🙂

  9. @Gary, you’re correct!

    Your blog has loooong since jumped the shark

    Between the clickbaits, the prurients, the racisms, and the 1000s of posts about how ***FANTASTIC!!!!*** this new credit card (commission) is (for Gary), you’ve written fewer and fewer good meaningful posts in the past couple years.

    The shark phrase implies something that was good but has atrophied into poor because of stupid decisions. It fits this blog like a scuba glove.

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