American Airlines legroom is shrinking! These 3 key moves will make flying less painful.

Source: AP
Source: AP

Just when you thought you couldn't feel even more like a sardine in the sky, American Airlines announced it plans to pack passengers in even tighter. The airline will add more seats to its Boeing 737 Max jetliners, CNN Money reported, reducing space between seats from 31 inches to a squished 29 inches on three rows of the airplane. (The rest will be a snug 30 inches apart.)

Think you can avoid American to grab more space? United Airlines is toying with shrinking leg room as well, CNN Money reported. Meanwhile, if you fly economy on Delta and United you have about 30 to 31 inches space. And if you really like togetherness, seats on Spirit or Frontier Airlines are a mere 28 inches apart.

Want to stretch your legs a bit? Roomier airlines like JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Southwest offer a luxurious 31 to 33 inches.

So how can you have a pleasant flying experience when an already packed flight is cramming more people together, especially if you are destined to fly economy? For one thing, don't pull out a tuna fish sandwich mid-flight for a snack.  Also, here are three things you can do to make the most out of your flight.

1. Become a seat guru 

You do have control over where you sit and the comfort level of your seat, TravelPerk advises. Before you choose your seat, check out sites like Seat Guru and Seat Expert, which can inform you on specific seats' comfort and amenities. Once you locate the best seat, book it with your airline! 

Source: Uncredited/AP

2. Buy a better a carry-on bag 

With seat room decreasing, you'll need all the legroom you can muster. Instead of trying to cram bags under your seat, travel with a bag that fits in the overhead compartment. Here's a list of the best carry-on bags you can easily stash overhead, courtesy of Travel + Leisure.

3. Invest in noise-canceling headphones 

With all this togetherness in the air, you may not be in the chatty mood. One polite way to decline hearing your seatmate's life story is to invest in a set of noise-canceling headphones. Not only will they drown out screaming babies and chatty passengers, your mid-air entertainment won't be disturbed by loud plane sounds. A wide selection of headphones are on the market, but USA Today reviewed a few of their favorites. 

Sign up for The Payoff — your weekly crash course on how to live your best financial life. Additionally, for all your burning money questions, check out Mic's creditsavingscareerinvesting and health care hubs for more information — that pays off.

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Gina Ragusa

Gina is a personal finance writer for Mic who resides in South Florida. Gina can be reached at gina@mic.com.

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