Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Which airlines offer the most legroom”? If you are tall like us (6’2” and 6’3” respectively), the answer to this question is undoubtedly YES! There are many uncomfortable aspects of flying, but topping the list for us tall folks is being crammed into a seat designed for someone half our size (aka: lack of legroom). Plane seating is not much better than the horrible yellow school bus seating we spent a good portion of our childhood squished into, sitting diagonally not allowing anyone to sit down next to us. And don’t even get us started on short people who sit in the exit row on airlines. That’s enough to make even the nicest tall person glare with hatred as they walk past the unassuming short stranger stretched out in comfort thoroughly enjoying their extra space.
We have done some research on airline legroom and here is what you need to know to avoid being a bitter and uncomfortable tall person next time you fly …
For most tall people to sit comfortably on an airplane, you need a seat with a pitch of 32” or more (preferably more). Seat pitch refers to the space between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it. Unfortunately, standard seat pitch on airlines is 31” (seeing a problem here?). It’s also interesting to note that there are no FAA rules or regulations on seat pitch other than rules requiring sufficient pitch at exit rows.
Over the past few years many carriers have began charging more money for seats with extra legroom. This includes, but is not limited to, seats in the front of the coach cabin, emergency aisle seating and reconfigured seats with a little more legroom such as United’s “Economy Plus”. For those of us who do not want to pay extra every time we want to be comfortable while flying, there’s still hope. According to a 2013 report from flight search site Routehappy.com called “Size Matters: Finding the Best Seats in the Sky,” 13% of US flights have roomier seats in regular economy at no extra cost.
If you look at the overall percentage of US domestic flights it tells a slightly different story. Every seat in Regular Economy on JetBlue and Virgin America offers 32” or more seat pitch. Alaska is close behind with 96% of their seats automatically being roomier.
Bottom line, if you want to find a roomy airline seat for your long legs and don’t want to pay extra, check out the following 5 airlines.
Even better, if you would like to get information on specific airline seats check out seatexpert.com or seatguru.com to find the best economy seats on the plane (yes, they do differ slightly based on location).
Finally, here is one more chart that shows the top 10 most comfortable airline seats by region.