Unless you’re fortunate enough to be flying in the pointy front end of the plane, traveling is usually a tight squeeze. But not all economy class seats are created equal, and there are some airlines that offer more legroom in coach than others. The thought of settling in for a long flight is much easier knowing you have a little extra room to stretch out, especially if you’re tall. Here are five airlines that offer the most legroom.
While JetBlue bills itself as a low-cost carrier, the airline doesn’t skimp when it comes to legroom. On JetBlue, the space between seats (which airlines call seat pitch) is a minimum of 32 inches — the most of any U.S. carrier. So if you’re looking to use a laptop on a flight, you might just be able to swing it on JetBlue. The airline, which operates its largest hubs at New York’s JFK Airport and Boston Logan, also offers personal seatback screens with live TV and fast, free Wi-Fi on every flight.
If you’re willing to pay more, you can spread out a bit more. JetBlue’s Even More Space seats, which are available on all flights, offer up to 38 inches of pitch. While these seats are pricier, they’ll also get you earlier boarding, easier access to overhead compartments, and entry to the fast lane of the security checkpoint at select airports.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines offers up to 32 inches of seat pitch on its fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes, but word of caution — some planes offer more legroom than others. According to the airline’s website, Boeing 737-700 aircraft offer an average of 31 inches, while Boeing 737-800 and 737-MAX 8 models have 32 inches between seats. So, be sure to carefully check the flight details when booking.
The world’s largest low-cost carrier and America’s largest domestic airline by passengers carried, Southwest offers a slew of other passenger-friendly perks. It’s the only domestic carrier that allows every passenger to check two bags for free, plus Southwest doesn’t charge change fees on tickets (you’ll just pay the fare difference).
If you’re flying to Asia, Japan Airlines is a top airline to consider. Depending on the plane, you can expect a seat pitch ranging between 33 inches and 34 inches, the most generous legroom offered by any global airline. The seats also range from roughly 18 inches to 19 inches wide, giving you a little more breathing room than you’ll find on most other airlines.
As the winner of Best Economy Class in the 2023 Skytrax World Airlines Awards, Japan Airlines offers plenty of other niceties, from in-flight meals to seatback entertainment. On the JAL Sky Suite on the Boeing 787, the airline has opted for eight seats per row instead of the standard nine, giving each flier nearly two inches of additional space.
Other international airlines that offer industry-leading legroom include ANA, Emirates, EVA Airways, and Singapore Airlines. Each carrier features an average of 32 to 34 inches of seat pitch in economy class.
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines isn’t quite as generous when it comes to legroom as JetBlue, but the airline offers slightly more space to spread out than most other U.S. carriers. On its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Alaska offers an average of 31 to 32 inches of seat pitch.
Like other airlines, you can pay extra on Alaska if you’re looking for more room. The airline’s Premium Class seating offers 35 inches of legroom, and some seats offer up to 40 inches of legroom. Premium Class also gets you complimentary cocktails to make your flight even more enjoyable.
Delta Air Lines
Delta is pretty similar to its major rivals American and United when it comes to legroom, but the Atlanta-based carrier does have a slight edge. While the standard seat pitch in economy class on American and United is generally 30 inches on narrowbody planes (with some exceptions), that’s not always the case on Delta.
Check the seat map for each aircraft type before booking. While some planes have seats with 30 inches of legroom, the majority of planes offer a slightly more generous 31 inches. And on planes like the new, state-of-the-art Airbus A220, you can enjoy up to 33 inches of space. As with the other airlines mentioned on this list, you can always pay more for Delta’s Comfort+ seating, which offers up to four extra inches of legroom plus priority boarding, complimentary snacks, and alcoholic drinks.