Here’s How Much Leg Room And Reclining Space You Get On 17 Major Airlines

Here’s How Much Leg Room And Reclining Space You Get On 17 Major Airlines

No, you’re not just imagining it: average seat sizes on aeroplane have shrunk over the past 20 years. If you’re overly tall or generous of figure, a few extra inches of space can make a big difference. With that in mind, here’s how 17 airlines compare on leg room and seat width.

Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

According to, a nonprofit advocating for passengers’ rights, the average economy-class seat is 43cm wide, compared to 47cm in the early 2000s. The average space between a seat and the seat in front of it, also known as a seat’s pitch, has also decreased from 89cm to 78cm, with some airlines even decreasing legroom to 71cm. And, to top it all off, airlines are filling their seats at higher rates than before.

Here’s how each airline compares in their space-saving, with data from SeatGuru and USAToday.

American Airlines

Seat Width: 17-18.5 inches

Pitch: 30-37 inches

Delta Airlines

Seat Width: 16.25-18.3 inches

Pitch: 30-34 inches

United Airlines

Seat Width: 16-19 inches

Pitch: 30-38 inches

Southwest Airlines

Seat Width: 17 inches

Pitch: 31-33 inches


Seat Width: 17-18.3 inches

Pitch: 31-34 inches

Air Canada

Seat Width: 17-20.2 inches

Pitch: 29-89cm

Air China

Seat Width: 17-46cm

Pitch: 30-31 inches

Air France

Seat Width: 40-45cm

Pitch: 31-34 inches

Alaska Airlines

Seat Width: 17-18.25 inches

Pitch: 31-36 inches

British Airways

Seat Width: 17-18.1 inches

Pitch: 30-34 inches


Seat Width: 46cm

Pitch: 28-97cm


Seat Width: 17.8-18.25 inches

Pitch: 32-41 inches


Seat Width: 17-17.5 inches

Pitch: 29-89cm


Seat Width: 17.75-20 inches

Pitch: 28-36 inches

Turkish Airlines

Seat Width: 16-17.8 inches

Pitch: 29-32 inches

Virgin America

Seat Width: 17-17.7 inches

Pitch: 31-97cm


Seat width: 17 inches

Pitch: 78.7cm

It’s important to note that though the range of seat widths and pitches has increased, the size of an average seat is in fact shrinking. WestJet’s Boeing 767-300ER (76W) seats give passengers the most space, with a pitch of 97cm and a 51cm seat width, while United’s Boeing 737-900 (739) V4 seats have a measly pitch of 30-31 inches and a 16 to 17-inch seat width. Other offenders of cramped 41cm-wide seats are ANA’s Boeing 777-200ER (772) Three Class and Turkish Airline’s Boeing 737-800 (738) V1 and Boeing 737-800 (738) V2.

The differences in seat size largely depend on the type of jet you’re flying in. American Airline’s newer Boeing 737 Max models are more cramped and have a 79cm pitch. Many other airlines also use the 737 plane models, including Delta Air Lines (whose 737 model has a pitch of 31 to 32 inches) and Southwest Airlines (whose 737 model has a pitch of 32 to 33 inches). Boeing 777 models from the 1990s and Boeing’s A380 superjumbo from the 2000s have seat widths up to 18.5 inches, but none of those models are currently being flown.

To see the exact seat measurements of seat widths and pitches for specific planes and airlines, visit SeatExpert.


  • I’m fairly tall, seat sizes on really modern planes seem ok as the seat that reclines also rolls forward slightly.

    The worst thing about new planes is the way that the seats are fixed to the floor, rather than each seat being bolted in, there is one big bulkhead per row of seats, this takes up over 1/3 of the legroom of that seat.

    I have been unlucky enough to have this seat a couple of times and it is horrible. It is disgusting that the airlines do not advertise this as a limited access/child seat because it is not suitable for an adult and should certainly not cost the same as the other seats.

  • Pitch: 30-97cm

    Southwest Airlines

    Seat Width: 43cm

    Pitch: 31-33 inches

    Air France

    Seat Width: 17-46cm

    Just a few examples, I have been on Air France, not all of their planes mind you but I think 17cm might be another mistake.

    Probably find that is a better source of information.

  • This article is next to useless. Please use consistent units or quote both cm and inches each time.

    Why is there such a large range of pitch sizes for some airlines?

  • What’s the use of this article for down-under people, it doesn’t even have Air NZ on it.

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