Let’s face it. If you haven’t purchased a first class or business fare, flying on an airplane can be uncomfortable, especially on a full aircraft. You will likely find yourself cramped in a small seat with limited legroom and no room to stretch out.
Luckily, not all airlines are the same in terms of seat size and comfort. Some airlines offer more legroom and wider seats than others. If you find cramped conditions particularly intolerable, it pays to do your research before booking a flight to make sure you get the best experience possible.
Additionally, there are some tips and tricks you can use to make your flight more comfortable, such as choosing an aisle seat or bringing a neck pillow. With a little bit of planning, you can make your next flight much more enjoyable.
Domestic Airlines with the Most Spacious Seats in Economy Class
JetBlue is America’s trailblazer when it comes to the most spacious aircraft seats. Although seats vary between different aircraft types, the airline offers up to 38 inches of legroom in their standard economy class.
Of the airline’s 130 Airbus A320s, 12 offer a 34-inch seat pitch, while the remaining aircraft offer 32 inches. On JetBlue’s non-Mint (non-business class) A321s and Embraer 190s, the standard pitch is 32 inches, while on the Mint-equipped aircraft, pitch is increased to 33 inches in standard economy.
Both configurations also feature several rows of economy seats with extra legroom—at least 37 inches on all aircraft and 39 inches on the Embraer 190.
As for seat width, JetBlue’s economy seats are between 17.8 and 18.25 inches wide.
Overall, these dimensions are considered among the best of any airline (both domestic and international) in economy class.
If you’re looking for more generous legroom and seat width when flying domestic economy, Southwest may be another great option.
The airline’s older Boeing 737-700s offer 31 inches in seat pitch. However, legroom in economy class has been increased on the newer Boeing 737-800 and MAX 8 to between 32 and 33 inches. Southwest has also increased the seat width on the MAX 8 from 17 inches to 17.8 inches.
Out of the three major airlines in the U.S. (Delta, American and United), Delta offers the most spacious economy seats, although there are some variations.
On most narrowbody aircrafts, there is 30 to 31 inches of legroom. However, the Boeing 737-800, Boeing 757 and Airbus A220 all offer 32 inches. Seat width on Delta’s Airbus narrowbodies is 18 inches, 17.2 inches on the Boeing 737 and a generous 18.6 inches on the Airbus A220.
International Airlines with the Most Spacious Seats in Economy Class
If you’re looking to travel internationally, such as south of the U.S. border, you’re in for a treat.
When it comes to international airlines with the most spacious seats, AeroMexico is considered one of the best with generous passenger space accommodations.
The Mexico City-based carrier with flights to over 90 destinations worldwide strives to build loyalty among economy class passengers by offering generous legroom and seat width.
Economy passengers flying on the airline’s Boeing 787s can expect to have between 31 and 36 inches of legroom (depending on the seat configuration) and each seat to be 17.2 inch wide.
Tips and Tricks on How to Make Your Economy Flight More Comfortable
In addition to researching and booking flights with generous seat pitch and wider-than-average seats, there are several other ways you can make your time on board economy class more comfortable and enjoyable:
- Wear comfortable clothing: Choose clothing that is loose and comfortable, such as sweatpants and a t-shirt. Avoid wearing anything too tight or restrictive.
- Bring a neck pillow: A neck pillow can help you get some rest on the plane, even if you don’t have a lot of room to move around.
- Bring snacks: Pack some snacks in your carry-on bag to help keep you full and energized during the flight.
- Bring headphones: Bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones to help block out any background noise on the plane.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the flight to stay hydrated and avoid feeling sluggish or tired.
- Stretch: Take a few minutes to stretch your legs and arms during the flight to help keep your blood flowing and reduce stiffness.
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