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Need Legroom? Mexico’s Interjet Gives You the Most

Ed Perkins - SmarterTravel
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November 8, 2017
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Your Airline Coach Seat Is Shrinking, Here's Why (Wall Street Journal)

Wondering what’s the airline with the most legroom? Seat pitch, the distance from any point on an airline seat to the corresponding point of the seat in the next row, is the most reliable measure of total front-to-rear seat space, and therefore legroom.

These days, the average economy seat pitch is 30 to 31 inches on the “Big Three” U.S. airlines (American, Delta, and United), 28 to 30 inches on low-fare lines, and 32 to 33 inches on some niche carriers. Seat pitch on transatlantic airlines is usually about the same; the average is a bit higher on transpacific lines.

But talking about averages skirts the fact that each big airline operates dozens of different types of planes, often without one standardized seat pitch. Newer planes may have different-pitch seats than older ones, and pitch can change when planes are refurbished. Given those uncertainties, we can identify only a few lines on which you can rely on an above-average pitch for any and all flights - and there’s one clear winner for the title of the airline with the most legroom in North America.

The Airline with the Most Legroom

With 34 inches of seat pitch across all its planes, Interjet is the unexpected airline with the most legroom. The Mexico-based, low-cost carrier flies from a handful of U.S. cities to lots of destinations in Mexico, plus a few in Central and South America, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Guatemala. Interjet operates Airbus A320s and Sukhoi SU9 Superjets, and says it foregoes about 30 seats on each plane to give its passengers more space.

Runners-Up for Airline with the Most Legroom

JetBlue is a strong runner-up, with 32 to 34 inches on all planes. The entire JetBlue fleet was once the airline with the most legroom, at 34 inches or better - but in recent years JetBlue has been adding more main cabin seats and decreasing legroom. We may one day see the airline’s legroom shrink to 31 inches of pitch, but it’s not quite there yet.

Virgin America features 32 inches of seat pitch across its fleet of A319, A320, and A321 aircrafts. Alaska Airlines now owns Virgin America but hasn’t yet announced whether it will conform the seat plans to match their fleet-wide standard.

Southwest recently downgraded to a fleet-wide pitch of 31 inches - a decrease of one to two inches. Similarly, Alaska is downgrading its main cabin pitch to 31 inches on all of its new planes as well as refurbished older models - all which were once at 32 inches fleet-wide.

Read the rest at SmarterTravel


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