How to get more leg room

I’m an average-sized bloke who still finds plane seats cramped and often uncomfortable. Then I look around the gate lounge and see those poor long-legged souls and I’m happier with my lot. How do they cope with the tight fit in economy? I’ll never know. Or then again, maybe they know these cheeky tricks to get more leg room on a plane.

Maybe they checked out the seat pitch and width before they booked?
Every airline is different when it comes to seat pitch and width. Take a look at the table from and you’ll see what I mean.

Economy legroom comparison across domestic carriers. (Finder)

Seat pitch is the distance from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. Seat width is self-explanatory. Seat pitch on domestic carriers ranges from 71cm to just under 79cm. While many of you may think that Qantas offers the best deals on seats, dollar for dollar, Jetstar wins the best seat war.

Read: What to wear while flying

Referring to the table, you’ll see that it really depends on which type of plane you fly for the best seat options. For example, Virgin’s A320 planes have a seat pitch of 45.2cm and width of 78cm, whereas the Boeing 737s have a seat pitch of 43cm and width of 78cm. Trust me, 2cm can be the difference between cramps and comfort.

You can usually find information about seat pitch during the booking process. At the very least, information on the type of plane you’ll be flying on is made available, then you can refer to this table to find out which type has the seats with the most room. Or you can check out for more information about your plane’s seats.

Maybe they pay for Premium Economy?
If you can’t be bothered doing your research, then fork out the extra money for a Premium Economy seat. I can’t recommend this option enough for long-haul flights. Look at the table and tell me I’m lying. Depending on the airline, it’s usually not a lot more than the cost of an Economy seat, and the money is well worth your comfort.

Read: How to avoid getting stuck in the middle seat when flying

Maybe they ask for the emergency exit row seat?
While some airlines may charge extra for emergency exit row seats, others offer them for the same cost or a few dollars extra. On some planes, an emergency exit seat can have almost double the leg room, which is why they sell out or are earmarked pretty quickly. The downside to some emergency exit seats are that you may not be able to recline your seat and you may not be able to stow luggage beneath or in front of you.

Maybe they book an aisle seat?
This is my go-to budget leg-room trick. It’s not even a trick really. Aisle seats have the same seat pitch as the other seats in the row but having that extra room on one side allows you to stretch out your legs. Just be careful when the flight attendants are pushing that cart up and down the aisle, you may lose a toe (just kidding). The downside to aisle seats are you’ll always have to give way to the middle and window seat passengers, if they want to walk around the cabin or need to visit the loo (especially bad if they have a weak bladder)  and you’ll often be bumped by ‘wide’ people walking down the aisle, which is really annoying when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

Read: What your plane seat choice says about your personality

Maybe they book a seat in the back?
Typically, the front of the plane books out faster than the back. This is because being in front or over the wings usually ensures a smoother, quieter (and, sometimes, less smelly) ride. Sometimes, those who roll the dice on a back seat can end up with an empty seat next to them. The big winners can get the whole row to themselves. Here’s a tip: book the middle seat in a back row on an early or late plane and you’ll improve your changes of an empty row – or at least an empty seat next to you – because everyone wants a window or aisle seat.

Do you have any tips for getting more leg room? Why not share them in the comments section below?

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