Airline Legroom Comparison (for Economy Class)

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Which airline is ‘best’ is often debated, but to lots of people the ‘best airline’ is simply one that is cheap, safe and reliable and that has decent amenities (such as TV screens in the back of seats).

Most people never consider the fact that different airlines offer their passengers different amounts of legroom.

With the emergence of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and the desire for more comfort, people have become more interested in how much legroom they have when they’re flying.

On a plane, the seating space is measure by two things: Seat Width and Seat Pitch. Seat Width, predictably is the measurement of the width of the seat. Most planes have a fairly similar seat width (at least in economy class), so this isn’t seen as much of an important measurement as Seat Pitch.

How Much Legroom Does Your Airline Have?Seat Pitch refers to the distance between the front of one seat’s headrest and the back of the headrest on the seat in front.

For example, if the Seat Pitch of a plane is 34” (in economy class), than that means there’s 34” of space between the front of your headrest and the headrest in front of you.

While seat pitch is more a measurement of ‘head room’ than ‘legroom’, it’s the best (and most recognized) measurement of legroom out there, and is well worth paying attention to.

So is there a way that we can easily compare the seat pitch and seat width for every airline out there?

Luckily, those nice chaps over at SeatGuru.com have taken the time to collect the data from every different airline and put it into a handy chart.

On short-haul flights, the airlines with the most legroom in economy class are Frontier Airlines and United Airlines (both with 36” seat pitch, 18” seat width).

Second place is Thomas Cook (with 35” seat pitch and 17” seat width) with third place going to Air Canada, Westjet and Porter Airlines (each with 34” seat pitch and 17” seat width).

The airline with the least amount of legroom is Monarch Airlines (with just 30” seat pitch and 18” seat width).

On long-haul flights, the airlines with the most legroom in economy class are Thai International Airways (with 36” seat pitch, 17.4” seat width) followed by the Dutch airline KLM (with 35” seat pitch, 17.5” seat width) then Korean Airlines and Air China in joint third place (with 34” seat pitch, 18” seat width)

The airline with the least amount of legroom is Air Berlin (with only 29” seat pitch and 17” seat width)

Note that the amount of legroom depends almost entirely on the plane being used, and some airlines use several different planes (each with different amount of legroom for their passengers) it is better (i.e. more accurate) to compare planes than it is to compare airlines.

The problem with this is that when you book a flight you book it with an airline and not for a specific plane (which makes this difficult).


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