For decades, Americans have loved to travel inside massive passenger airplanes. Using powerful computers and clever onboard software, they can cram four people in a five-passenger economy seat that could comfortably fit an average person in a three-person standard flight. Yet these airliners are quickly becoming obsolete as travelers increasingly choose to travel on more expensive flights on smaller airplanes.

Airbus introduced its two-seat Supertall Jetliner in 1997. This generation was originally sold to large, oil-rich airlines that used the superstealthy aircraft to compete against smaller ones. But the aircraft never took off at American and became the symbol of middle-age outrage.

In recent years, Airbus has sold nearly 1,000 orders for its new version of the aircraft, the A220. But many customers are considering an upgrade as they wait for the aircraft to meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s pending requirements. The FAA has plans to update its rules so that two-seat two-engine and single-engine Supertalls will be allowed to fly on specific routes without needing an extra pilot.

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