Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't TWA come up with this idea several years back with its Comfort Class? It has been discontinued, but the idea was to give more legroom by removing seats. Did UAL or AA do anything that different?
BTW, if you want to experience discomfort at its finest, try Delta's 737-200 coach seating. I am only 5'8", but I can barely fit. The 45 min. flight from South Bend to Cincinnati is absolutely unbearable.
Also, despite all that Virgin offers the economy passenger, its seat pitch is riduculous. As i said in an earlier post, it was so bad, I felt compelled to get to the airport 6 hours on the return fligth to make absolutely sure that I got an exit row (which I did). Ironically, TWA's 767s had the best economy seat pitch that I've experienced, but, of course, the rest of the service was sub-standard.