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American Airlines Reducing Legroom in Economy Class

American Airlines is taking away some more legroom in the economy cabin. 

The carrier's new Boeing 737 Max jets, which are set to begin arriving later this year, will have a "seat pitch"—the space between the same spot on two seats—of 30 inches instead of the current 31 in most rows. Unlucky passengers seated in the last two rows on the aircraft and another closer to the front will have to deal with a reduction to 29 inches.

The tighter seating configuration will allow the airline to fit 170 passengers onto each plane, as opposed to the 160 currently accommodated on American's 737-800 jets.

As CNN points out, the change makes American the first of the three major U.S. airlines (the others are Delta and United) to offer legroom on par with budget carriers like Spirit and Frontier, where seats are only 28 inches apart. 

United is said to be considering following American's lead.

It seems a strange time to be putting the literal squeeze on customers, given that the airline industry has been raking in record profits while falling under intense scrutiny for how flyers are treated, following United's rough ejection of a passenger last month.