Top 11 Carriers in the World for Comfortable Economy Travel
Flying economy – or coach – class is generally the most cost-effective option, but it's not always the best option when you want a convenient airline seat.
The coach portion of an airline cabin is infamous for cramming passengers together, so finding an airline that gives economy passengers some breathing space is a breath of fresh air.
Our list of the airlines with the most comfortable economy seats will help you find out which airlines prioritize your comfort even if you aren't paying top dollar.
Many passengers are unaware that some planes have more legroom and seating space than others.
They're simply looking for a coach flight because the price is right, and they're willing to accept the reality that they won't be able to sit or stretch their legs.
List of Airlines with the most comfortable economy seats
Southwest only has a seat pitch of 32 inches and 31 inches. Southwest flights have no pre-assigned seating and no upgrade options, so all economy seats are virtually identical. Extra legroom is available in exit row and bulkhead seats, which can have a seat pitch of up to 39 inches. However, unless you are first in line for the first boarding group, you should forget about having those highly sought-after seats.
Alaska primarily owned planes with 31-32 inch pitch seats prior to its merger with Virgin America. Alaska has acquired 67 Airbuses from Virgin since the merger, with a 32-inch pitch in normal economy. Alaska airlines intend to replace the chairs, carpets, and lighting on these Airbuses, which means legroom can change as well, and typically not for the better. Bulkhead and exit row seats with 36-40 inches of legroom are available, and improvements to certain seats are available for an additional fee.
Since American Airlines has such a diverse fleet of planes, it'll be difficult to predict how much pitch you'll get in your economy seat unless you do some homework on the plane configuration you'll be flying on. It will be between 31 and 32 inches for the most part, but most likely 31. You can expect two to three inches more legroom (33”-36”) if you buy a “Main Cabin Extra” fare, depending on which aircraft you are flying. So book and enjoy luxurious travel with American Airlines.
When flying with United, you should anticipate a 31-inch pitch on most Boeing flights. The only exceptions are routes served on its Airbuses and some aircraft that are 30 inches long and Dreamliner service, which is 32 inches long. When you pay for United's "Economy Plus" alternative, it seems to be a little more generous than American.
On average, you'll gain three to four inches of legroom, giving you a pitch of 34 to 37 inches. If you're planning a trip with United Airlines or already have a flight booked and want to know which aircraft will be flying the route you can easily check it on our website.
With a pitch of 32-33 inches, JetBlue airlines claim to be the airline with most comfortable economy seats that have the most legroom of any US airline. Although most American carriers still do that, JetBlue offered an industry-leading 34 inches on all of its planes only a few years ago. JetBlue's "Even More Space" seats give the most total legroom on any US airline, ranging from 37-41 inches of pitch, leaving enough room to spread your legs out like you're in a yoga class for those willing to pay the extra money.
Delta, like American Airlines, has a diverse fleet of aircraft that can differ in pitch. When flying with Delta airlines, most passengers should expect a 30-32 inch pitch, with the 31-inch pitch being the most common. With 34-35 inch pitches, Delta Comfort+ seats provide customers with a couple of extra inches. A generous 38-inch pitch is available for those willing to pay extra for "Delta Premium Pick."
Hawaiian Airlines seat pitch on Airbuses ranges from 31 to 32 inches. Travelers on the smaller plane, which are mainly used for inter-island service, can get 30 inches. Hawaiian Airlines provides “Extra Comfort” seats to travellers who want to stretch out a little longer on their trip across the Pacific. These extra-cost seats have a 36-inch seat pitch and are available on Hawaiian's flights.
Allegiant Air's planes all have a seat pitch of less than 30 inches, which is below average. Allegiant Air also offers the option of upgrading to Legroom+, which adds 4 inches to your pitch. The plane's first-row bulkhead portion and the exit rows over the wing have legroom+ seats. Allegiant's seats do not recline, so you'll have to sleep upright in addition to the close pitch.
Spirit, notorious for its nickel and diming rates, scrimps on legroom with an industry-low 28-inch pitch on all of its jets, which comes as no surprise. Spirit's chairs, like Allegiant's, are "pre-reclined," which is industry talk for "no desire to recline at all." Spirit's "Big Front Seat" option gives you a 36-inch pitch and puts you in the front of the plane, but it also costs a lot more, cancelling out any savings you figured you'd get from flying with Spirit Airlines in the first place.
A very low-cost carrier Frontier airlines also crams you into its Airbuses with just 28-31 inches of pitch. Just a few older flights have the 31-inch pitch, and Frontier airlines is in the process of phasing them out, so travellers can expect the lower end of that number. Frontier has placed an order with Airbus for 100 or more additional aircraft, which will have a 28-29 inch pitch on their pre-reclined seats. On Frontier, you can pay an extra fee to get more legroom by buying “Stretch” seats. Rows 1-3 have a 36” pitch, while fortunate Row 13 on the wing has a 38” pitch.
Coach class seats on Air Canada have the widest pitch range. Seats with a pitch of 29 to 35 inches are available in the economy cabin on Air Canada flights. In economy class, the seat width on Air Canada planes varies from 17 to 18.5 inches. As opposed to the industry norm of 31 inches for seat pitch and 17 inches for seat width, this is a significant difference (some low-cost carriers actually come in at 28 inches for seat pitch).
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