Legroom and personal space on an airplane are luxuries these days. Airlines are working their hardest to add in more and more seats to the point where some airlines want passengers to stand on flights. Luckily, we do live in 2017 and there are websites out there that are on our side. Seat Maestro is one of those sites and just released a list of some of the airlines with the best seat pitch (legroom) and seat width in economy class.
Jet Blue topped their list since their “cheapest seats offer a pitch range of 32 to 35 inches (on most flights), with some planes offering a pitch between 37 and 41 inches. Seat width on Jet Blue planes typically runs from 17.8 to 18.5 inches.” Virgin Air ranked high on the list as well “with a seat pitch of 32 inches on some airplanes and a roomy 38 inches on others. The seat width on Virgin America flights is typically about 18.7 inches.”
38 inches? La-ti-da, Mr. Famous! For comparison’s sake, Spirit Airlines offers a 28-inch seat pitch for your legs. Also, they embed gravel into the seat backs so that it presses deep into your knees.
Cheapflights.com often releases lists of airlines with the most seat pitch and width too, and even lists the various models of planes within each air carrier. And that’s where it gets mind-numbingly complicated. All of these airlines fly dozens of models of planes and they all seem to have different specs.
Another seat monitor website called Seat Guru charts everything into a useable spreadsheet. You’re able to search by airline, airplane model, seat pitch, and seat width from largest to smallest and back and forth — and this where you see an almost endless variation in seat sizes and pitches. For instance, American Airlines alone flies 22 different models of Boeings and Airbuses all with slightly different seat pitches and widths. It does make it easy to find that WestJet’s Boeing 767-300ER has the best leg room in economy with 38 inches of pitch and 20-inch of seat width. Coming in second is United’s Boeing 757-200 with 37 inches of pitch but only 17.3-inch of seat width.
Sure, we can all now reference this information with Seat Guru’s handy chart — which includes pretty much every airline worldwide. But, we have to honestly ask, who wants to spend time doing that every single time you book a flight? Which leads us to a bill before the US Congress called H.R. 1467. This bill aims to tell the FAA to regulate this shit and make a uniform seat width and pitch across the board per class. So far the bill has been introduced and then referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for review.
Sadly, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath — last year the US Senate voted down any regulation related to leg room and seat standardization. And this congress isn’t looking any more likely to be pro-regulation. So until there’s a uniformity in seat size and pitch, we’re all just going to have to rely on a seat guru or maestro to help us make a decision on how comfortable we can afford to be.