The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

American Airline Boeing 737 Max8 Airplane at Punta Cana International airport, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, November 18, 2021
felipecamps | Adobe Stock

The Airlines With the Most and Least Amount of Legroom

If you’ve ever boarded a flight only to find your knees jammed against the seat in front of you, you’re painfully aware of how tight legroom has gotten in the economy cabin of most US airlines. Airlines are prioritizing profit over passenger comfort by cramming in extra rows of seats into already constricted cabins to maximize the amount of tickets they can sell. You’ll want to avoid these airlines that offer the least amount of legroom the next time you fly. 

The travel site Upgraded Points calculated the average legroom for each major US airline by analyzing the carriers’ aircraft used across its ten busiest domestic flight routes. Upgraded Points studied the average seat pitch (the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it) of economy seats on those routes, and used to create a standard legroom score for each airline.

Not surprisingly, budget carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines tied for last place in the average amount of legroom offered in economy, with an average seat pitch of just 28 inches. In comparison, the airline with the most amount of legroom, JetBlue Airways, had an average seat pitch of 32.3 inches in economy class on domestic flights. 

The US Airlines With the Most Amount of Legroom

Largest Airlines in United States of America
gguy | Adobe Stock

You’ll get more legroom flying on these airlines.

  1. JetBlue Airways: 32.3”
  2. Southwest Airlines: 31.8”
  3. TIE: Alaska Airlines & Delta Airlines: 31.0”

The US Airlines With the Least Amount of Legroom

Prepare for a very cramped flight if you fly any of these airlines. 

  1. American Airlines: 30.2”
  2. United Airlines: 30.1” 
  3. Hawaiian Airlines: 29.0”
  4. TIE: Frontier Airlines & Spirit Airlines: 28.0″

Tips for Getting More Legroom in Economy

Want to get more legroom in economy? Here are a few ways to do it:

  1. Check the aircraft model before buying your ticket. If you’re shopping for a flight, check SeatGuru before purchasing to find the pitch and width on the specific type of plane that will be flying on your route. You can compare it to flights at other times or on different airlines to find which ones will give you the most legroom for free.
  1. Gamble on checking in late. If you go to check-in for your flight and a number of extra legroom seats (like the emergency exit row) are available, but you don’t want to pay for them, you could wait to check-in and hope that the other standard economy seats get filled up first. If that happens, the airline will assign passengers to the extra legroom seats for free. Just be warned, this move could backfire and you could get stuck in a middle seat! 
  1. Use your points to upgrade to a premium economy seat—an upgrade with points is often significantly cheaper than it would have cost to buy the seat with the extra legroom when booking.

You Might Also Like:

Why Didn’t I Get TSA PreCheck on My Boarding Pass if I’m a PreCheck Member?
6 Things You Should Never Do When Crossing a Border
6 Inflight Beauty Treatments You Can Do Without Looking Too Weird
This New Tool Will Tell You Exactly When to Book Your Flight for the Best Price
Hawaii Passport Requirements: Do I Need a Passport to Go to Hawaii?

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From