Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
The U.S. Airlines With the Most and Least Legroom [2024 Data Study]
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
When it comes to flying, legroom is more than just a luxury — it’s the key to a pleasant journey, especially for those longer flights. No one wants to feel like a sardine packed into a tin can, knees pressed against the seat in front, as they count down the hours until landing. Whether you’re a frequent flyer clocking in miles or an occasional traveler looking to start your vacation off on the right foot, knowing which airlines offer that precious extra inch of space can make all the difference.
Of course, not all airlines treat legroom equally. Some carriers clearly prioritize passenger comfort with more generous spacing, while on others, legroom is at a premium — a factor to consider if you’re planning a longer journey or just prefer a bit more space.
These variations in space aren’t just trivial numbers; they can be the difference between a cramped, restless journey and a relaxed, enjoyable flight experience. Keep reading to learn which U.S. airlines and aircraft offer the most room to stretch your legs and which ones might leave you feeling a bit squeezed.
The U.S. Airlines With the Most and Least Legroom
To calculate the average legroom for each airline, we analyzed planes across the 10 busiest domestic flight routes. We analyzed the seat pitch, the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it, for an economy seat on the listed flights and calculated the average across each airline.
After crunching the numbers, JetBlue Airways is the clear leader in legroom, boasting an average seat pitch of 32.3 inches. This feature is a key aspect of JetBlue’s modern fleet, which includes spacious Airbus A320 and A321 models designed to enhance the overall travel experience for their passengers.
Southwest Airlines follows closely, with a commendable 31.8 inches of space, showcasing its dedication to ensuring a comfortable experience, particularly appreciated by those on longer flights. This coincides with Southwest’s traveler-friendly policy, which includes free checked bags and no change fees, adding to passengers’ overall comfort and convenience.
In a tie for third, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines both offer a generous 31.0 inches of legroom. Delta, renowned for its wide range of international destinations, and Alaska, famous for its expansive network across the West Coast and beyond, demonstrate that comfort can coexist with extensive travel options.
American Airlines is not far behind, providing 30.2 inches of seat pitch. As one of the largest airlines in the world, American’s diverse fleet, including Boeing and Airbus aircraft, is designed to cater to the comfort needs of a wide range of passengers, balancing space efficiency with passenger convenience.
With its global reach, United Airlines offers a slightly more compact 30.1 inches, still maintaining a focus on passenger comfort, which is crucial for its extensive network of domestic and international flights.
Hawaiian Airlines, transporting passengers to and from the picturesque islands of Hawaii, offers a pitch of 29.0 inches. While it might not be the roomiest, flying to a tropical paradise with Hawaiian may make the sacrifice of legroom worth it.
At the end of the spectrum, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, both known for their ultra-low-cost model, tie with an average seat pitch of 28.0 inches. While these airlines prioritize affordability, offering some of the most budget-friendly options in the skies, the reduced legroom is a trade-off for the lower fares. This model suits cost-conscious travelers, particularly on shorter routes where the lack of extra space might be a lesser concern.
Aircraft With the Most and Least Legroom
While airlines vary considerably in their legroom offerings, the specific aircraft used also plays a pivotal role in determining the amount of space passengers can enjoy.
At the top of the list is the Embraer 190, boasting an average seat pitch of 32.0 inches. This impressive figure stands out in the industry, marking the Embraer 190 as a leader in passenger comfort for legroom.
Boeing also makes a strong showing in this area. 3 of the top 5 aircraft with the most legroom are Boeing models – the 767, 777, and 787 – each offering a spacious 31.0-inch seat pitch. This consistency across different Boeing models highlights the manufacturer’s commitment to ensuring passenger comfort isn’t compromised, even in larger, long-haul aircraft.
Conversely, the Airbus A320neo offers the least legroom, with a seat pitch of just 28.0 inches. While Airbus is known for its innovative designs and efficient performance, the A320neo’s tighter legroom is a factor that passengers may want to consider, especially for longer flights.
Despite the A320neo ranking among the bottom for average seat pitch, other Airbus models, such as the Airbus A320, offer up to 34 inches in legroom for economy passengers on select models. Across all A320s, the average seat pitch comes lands at 30.1 inches.
For a full breakdown of legroom across aircraft — and to know what to expect on your next flight — scroll through the table above.Hot Tip:
Learn more about the seat details for your next flight by using SeatGuru.
We used the Google Chrome extension Legrooms for Google Flights to identify legroom across airlines. We scraped data for all listed flights on the 10 busiest U.S. domestic flight routes, according to the OAG in November of 2023.
We recorded the seat pitch in inches and took the average of all listed flights for each airline and aircraft. We cross-checked our data with information on each individual airline’s website to confirm accuracy. This dataset analyzed the following airlines: Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United.
No matter what airline or plane you’re traveling in, it’s undeniable that the space we enjoy on a flight can significantly shape our travel experience. From the spaciousness of JetBlue Airways to the compactness of Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, each flight offers a different level of comfort.
As you prepare for your next flight, whether for business or leisure, we’re here to share the important details to help you choose a carrier and aircraft that aligns with your comfort needs and travel preferences. Here’s to ensuring your next journey is not just about reaching your destination but enjoying the ride along the way!
Featured Image Credit: Upgraded Points
Was this page helpful?