Fly on Airlines that Offer more Coach Legroom

Just because more people are flying these days than everbefore due in large part to cheaptravel options, including cheap airplane tickets, cheapdeals, discounthotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discounttravel deals, and cheap vacation packages does notmean that they can reliably expect to fly in comfort.

Unfortunately flying comfortably is increasingly challenginggiven that airlines have been slowly shrinking the amount of legroom customersget for decades.  The average “seatpitch” which is the distance between a point on one seat to the same point onthe seat directly in front of it has decreased from 35 inches in the late 1960sto 31 inches today, with some airlines even cutting that space to 28inches. 

A quarter of passengers seated in economy have found theirseat comfort to be either “poor” or “very poor,” according to a recent ConsumerReports survey.

Many airlines have added seats to planes to increase theirprofits.  Growing concerns of deep veinthrombosis (a potentially fatal condition involving blood clots in legs) onplanes offering less legroom and safety concerns in the event of emergencyevacuation have resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration consideringimposing regulations on how much room travelers should minimally be given.

While legroom on airlines can vary between long distance andshort haul planes, knowing which North American based airlines offer the bestand worst coach seats based on legroom can help you make a better-informedchoice of which airline to select for your next trip.

The following North American Airlines offer the most legroom:

·     Interjetoffer 34 inches.  This Mexico based, lowcost airline flies from a handful of U.S. cities to destinations in Mexico andCentral and South America.  It claims tohave removed up to 30 seats on each of its planes in order to give itscustomers more space. 

·     AirCanada offers between 32 to 34 inches. Canada’s largest airline is known for its low prices and spacious seats.

·     JetBlueoffers 33 inches.  Although JetBluerecently reduced its average legroom by adding 12 cabin seats to its latestfleet of planes, it continues to offer very competitive legroom.

·     VirginAmerica offers 32 inches. 

·     Southwestoffers 32 inches and provides its passengers with more space than many of itsbudget competitors and even larger legacy airlines.

North American Airlines that offer less legroom include:

·     AlaskaAirlines offer 31 to 32 inches.  Itscoach passengers can book Preferred Plus Seats which come with four inches ofextra legroom, starting at an additional $15.

·     AmericanAirlines offers 31 inches.  Afterannouncing in 2018 that it would be adding more seats to its Boeing 737 Maxjetliners, American decided to cancel these plans after receiving negativefeedback from its customers and employees.

·     Deltaoffers 31 inches.  Delta is one of thebiggest airlines in the world and offers some of the tightest economy seats.

·     HawaiianAirlines offers 31 inches.  Despite itstight seating, Hawaiian Airlines earned the title of the U.S. airlineindustry’s top ranked airline for on time performance.

·     Unitedoffers 30 to 31 inches.  United offerslarger “Economy Plus” seating with more legroom for an additional fee.

·     Allegiantoffers 30 inches.  Select flights comewith the option of “Legroom + seats” that provide passengers with up to 34inches of legroom.

·     Spiritoffers 28 inches.  While this airline istied for last place, it remains popular with some fliers because of its cheapfares.

·     Frontieroffers 28 inches.  Similar to Spirit,this airline’s low prices are what attracts its customers.

There is a way to upgrade your legroom for free on manyairlines.  Many frequent flier programsoffer member perks such as free upgrades and discounts of 10 to as much as 50percent on select flights.

If you travel frequently enough to earn elite flier status,you may qualify for complimentary seat upgrades.  For example, when you fly 25,000 miles onAmerican in one calendar year, you earn “Silver status” that can get you and acompanion free access to American’s more spacious economy plus seats.

Remember you may sometimes even be able to get a free seatupgrade simply by asking the check in agent or gate representative “nicely” forone.
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