by John Webber
Is Economy Plus worth the extra cash? We looked at the differences between Economy and Economy Plus (or also called Coach and Premium Coach) on six major airlines. JetBlue has the most legroom for now in their Economy class (34 inches). Spirit Airlines Economy class offers the least amount of legroom (28 inches), but their Big Front seats offer a massive upgrade, to 36 inches. Delta’s Comfort+ class offers the most perks.
Turbulence, a screaming baby, or sitting next to an armrest-hogger is generally out of your control (airline etiquette says the middle seat takes both armrests). Choosing how much legroom you get, however, is in your hands — though that’s not to say it doesn’t come at an extra cost. As more and more airlines offer seating that isn’t quite Business class, but is better than Economy, we decided to compare this new class to Economy.
We looked to SeatGuru for the seating measurements on Boeing 737s or the equivalent Airbus A320s on six popular airlines; Delta, United, American, Jetblue, Wow Air, and Spirit. Do take note that legroom or, as the airlines call it, “seat pitch” is the distance from any point on one seat (like the headrest to headrest or seat back to seat back) to the exact same point of the seat in front or behind it. While it is not the exact equivalent of “legroom” – it does give a very good approximation of how much seat room you should expect on a plane.
Here is a sampling of which Premium Economy classes are truly worth the extra cash (keeping in mind that prices vary by route) — and where you are better off just sticking to regular Economy.
United Airlines Economy:
Seats in United’s Economy class have a width of 17.3 inches, and 31 inches of legroom or seat pitch.
United Economy Plus:
Economy Plus seating on United has a width of 17.3 inches as well, but 37 inches of legroom. In other words, paying up means getting the same seat, but with 6 extra inches of legroom. Another perk is that Economy Plus seating also offers more of a recline (5 inches versus 3 — to put that into perspective, First Class has 7.5).
America Airlines Economy:
American’s Economy class seats get you 31 inches of legroom/seat pitch and has seats that are 17.2 inches wide.
American Airlines Main Cabin Extra:
American’s Main Cabin Extra seats get you 35 to 37 inches of legroom along with Preferred Boarding, and an earlier exit when you land.
JetBlue Airways Economy:
JetBlue has the most legroom in their Economy class, with 34 inches of space. The seats are also the widest, with a width of 17.8 inches. Do note that as of late 2017, JetBlue will have 32-33 inches of seat pitch in much of their planes – still the biggest seat with the best legroom.
JetBlue Even More Space:
JetBlue’s Even More Space seats offer 38 to 39 inches of legroom. Travelers also get early boarding and Even More Speed (expedited security), which is available in select cities.
Delta AirLines Economy Class:
Delta’s Economy class offers 31 to 32 inches of legroom/seat pitch and seats that are 17.2 inches wide.
Delta’s Comfort+ class offers the same seat width, but 33 to 34 inches of legroom depending on airplane configuration. Travelers also get the perks of having a dedicated overhead bin, complimentary alcoholic drinks, free movies on seatback video screens, priority boarding, and an increased incline on international flights.
WOW Air Economy:
Wow Air’s Economy class comes with 30 to 31 inches of legroom/seat pitch and seats that are 17 inches wide.
WOW Air XL Seats:
Travelers on Wow get 32 to 33 inches of legroom on XL seats, 35+ inches of legroom on XXL seats, and 37+ inches on BigSeats. Travelers will also get priority boarding, free carry-on baggage, free checked baggage, and in-flight meals. (It’s worth pointing out that all flights to and from the US are long-haul, which means passengers will be spending more time in these seats.)
Spirit Airlines Economy:
Spirit’s Economy class has the least amount of legroom/seat pitch, with only 28 inches. The seats have a width of 17.75 inches, however, which is on the wider side.
Spirit Airlines Big Front:
Spirit’s Big Front seats are a huge difference to their Economy class, with 36 inches of legroom and 18.5 inches of width.
It is worth noting that Spirit has the least room because it is an ultra-low-cost carrier.
“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” @wbbrjp