There are many factors that go into to choosing the perfect airline seat: front or back, bulkhead or exit, aisle or window. No matter what your preference, there are two variables that always contribute to comfort: seat pitch and width. For those who travel in coach or economy class, these numbers are the make or break on any flight.
The seat pitch serves as an indication of legroom, while the seat width is the distance from one armrest to another. Average measurements fall in the 31” range for pitch and 17” range for width, but some aircraft, like Spirit’s A320 offers a narrow 28” pitch, and likewise Air Transat’s A330-200 offers a 16.5” width. That might sound bad, but over in the UK, Thomas Cook Airlines is consistently ranked worst overall, with planes that all measure in at 30”P and 17”W.
Due to the dizzying variety of aircraft for each airline, and the uncontrollable variables that contribute to which plane model you will end up boarding for each particular flight, it is difficult to always book flights on planes based on comfortable economy seating. The good news is there are certain airlines that fly with a fleet of more comfortable aircraft, and we have compiled (in no particular order) six of the best seats for economy flights.
1. Jet Blue’s Airbus A320s and Embraer E190s offer economy passengers a spacious 32-34” P and a 17.8-18.25” W. If you are willing to pay an additional $10, just ask for the “Even More Legroom” seat to relax in 38” of leg stretching comfort.
2. United’s flight options do vary, but the A319 and A320 planes go as high as 31” P and 18” W, and for the luxury of an additional 5” of legroom, opt for the Economy Plus seating (at an additional charge).
3. Delta flights are criticized for being cramped on various airline forums, but this airline giant flies almost everywhere in the world, and the majority of its Boeing planes boast up to 33”P in economy, and its Airbus aircraft max out at 35” P and 17.8” W in Economy Comfort. Just make sure you check for specifics before booking the flight
4. Air Canada cruises the world’s skies with Boeing and Embraer models that measure in at 31-34” P and 17-18” W. Air Canada cruises the skies with the Embraer E75 model that measures in at 32-34” P and 18.9” W and the E90 at 33” P and 18” W. Air Canada’s Boeing 767-300ER (763) models have a wide range varying from 31-34″ P and 17.83-21″ W. Like Delta, they have received some negative feedback online, but actually do offer some flights with above average roominess.
Before you book your flight, be sure to check the comparison charts at Seat Guru or Seat Expert for a specific breakdown of the plane, and the best seats available on each flight; however, keep in mind that this information is not always current, so please contact the airline for the most up-to-date information.
By Ashleigh Whelan for PeterGreenberg.com