How legroom on major airlines compare to one another


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/15/how-legroom-on-major-airlines.html


#2

ummm… Maybe I’m wrong, but isnt leg room determined by the airframe builder and NOT the company that flies their planes? (Ex: boeing vs airbus)


#3

No, it’s how many seats the airlines decide to jam in.


#4

Ahem, major American airlines methinks. :wink:

(For reference Air Canada’s average is 32", 35-37" for premium economy)

http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/index.html


#5

Are you bragging about second place? Oh, Canada!

JetBlue is probably owned by Canadians tho.


#6

No. If you look at the seats, you’ll see they’re bolted into floor rails so an airline can adjust seats. I think they are in ~ 1" increments – so it’s easy for an airline to decide to yank out a row and give the other 30 rows an extra inch (or, more likely, take out an inch form everyone to find room for a new row). I was once on a flight where they’d clearly missed a seat row by a notch so I had an extra inch and the guys in front me were short one.


#7

Next time you fly, look down. You’ll see at least two rails that run the entire length of the plane allowing seats to be attached at intervals about 4cm apart. This means if an airline decides their Airbus 320s are going to have a 37" seat pitch for the Extra Super Fliers and 32" for Super Fliers and 28" for Fliers and then in a year and a half decide the Super Fliers aren’t bringing in enough and want to squeeze in another two rows of Fliers, they can.

Leg room and seating layouts are totally determined by the airlines selling seats. That’s why sites like Seat Guru need to know which airline you’re flying as well as which aircraft, and possibly even which route.


#8

Jinxies!


#9

I flew Spirit for the first time yesterday. You might think that the 2" difference between Spirit and the next nearest wouldn’t be that noticeable, but as a nearly-exactly-average-height male (5’-9.5"), that 28" happens to be right on the other side of “passably comfortable”.

I was unable to sit with my feet on the floor and sitting up straight. I had to either sit diagonally in the seat, or sit bow-legged with my feet crossed under the seat in front of me. I have been more comfortable on busses.

But, it was a cheap flight, and boarding and deplaning went fast because hardly anybody had carryons (a sizeable fee was charged for each).


#10

I just spent a weekend hating Delta; not only have they squeezed the seats closer together, they’ve reduced the seat width as well; your arms are squished tightly together and you end up feeling like a ‘sardine in a can’ for the duration of the flight.

My flights lasted for six miserable hours each way. The only saving grace was a one-hour stop-over to change planes.

One thing I’m sure of, if I have to do any more traveling, Delta will be my last choice!


#11

I flew to Sweden on vacation last week and i was with Delta round trip and while the spacing between the seats isn’t great it’s something i can live with. However the seat width is what made the flight really uncomfortable and i’m not a big/wide person. But i spent most of the flight awkwardly trying to keep my elbows out of my neighbor’s space… especially on the way back since i got stuck in the middle seat.

The seat width unfortunately is more or less the same on every flight. I got even bumped up to Comfort+ seating and i was miserable.


#12

This would be a good time to share your stories about flying Spirit.

My brother and I were flying home on Spirit after a family vacation. We had one connection on the way, and just days before we left Spirit chose to change time of that connection from a tight but manageable hour, to only 30 minutes. Any one that has flow often knows that between waiting to deplane and moving from one gate (or worse terminal) to another can take a lot of time, and if there are any delays 30 minutes may not be enough. When we called to see if we could find an alternate flight that would give us more time the agent ‘politely’ told us that federal law stated that they had to give us 30 minutes, and unless the schedule changed again to less than 30 minutes they were not required to adjust our flights, but we could pay to change fights, the late change fee was almost as much as our tickets were originally. We decided to tough it out and hope for the best.

On the day of the flight shock and amazement, our first flight was delayed. The flight attendants were less that sympathetic. (She seemed genuinely shocked that we would ask her to call our departing gate to let them know we were on our way.) And as we ran as fast as we could (same terminal, but opposite ends) to make our connecting flight… there was a huge crowd around the gate, when we asked one of the people standing there if our flight had left he told us that it hadn’t even landed yet.

After expressing concern to a flight attendant that we might miss our next flight, she didn’t even bother to check that fight and tell us that it too was delayed.

tl;dr

I’ve had better customer service from Comcast.


#13

Ouch.


#14

I looked at their layouts on seatgruru.com, and it seems they have mostly 31" for standard economy seating with a few aircraft having exceptions either way (their short haul Airbus have 29" pitch, and a few long haul craft have 32"). I’d definitely put them in the “averagely comfortable” category.

ETA:
A better link to this data for all airlines: http://www.seatguru.com/charts/generalcharts.php :slight_smile:


#15

I fly on Cathay Pacific. I have no problem with its leg room, counterintuitively and maybe because I am sedately enchanted by its service do I not notice its leg room limitations. I might look into KLM or whatever airline accommodates those of us outside the 25-75 percentile range for height.


#16

Which “short haul Airbus” are you referring to? If you mean the A319-321 aircraft (the majority of their NA flights use these when they use Airbus), they average out at about 32", from AC’s own page.

While sites like Seatguru etc. are useful shortcuts in the general sense, they rely on third party updates, and routinely miss things like cabin upgrades or changes (or in this case, cabin reconfiguration for certain rows of seating).

Of course, looking at the 37" premium economy seats, one realized how good a system they have for pushing you to pay extra, regardless. :slight_smile:


#17

Instead of investing in seats, perhaps an airline could invest in anesthesiologists? I don’t mind being unconscious for the whole ordeal.


#18

Airberlin. I will never fly them again barring emergency evacuation from a pandemic zone. Berlin to Bangkok, 11 hours with my knees in the seat ahead of me, and the passenger’s behind me in mine.


#19

Ah, I see where I went wrong, it’s the Rouge line; which I’m assuming is their low-cost carrier.

Premium economy is a nice way to travel long haul, I’ve yet to try it myself. I used to do the always-fly-economy thing, but after realizing that I have the money to spend on making my travels more comfortable, I’ve been doing that. I was about to fly premium on my way back from LHR a few months ago, but that got preempted by a member of the cabin crew telling me that I now had a business class seat. :slight_smile:


#20

And people wonder why I like to drive or take the train.