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The Airlines With the Least Amount of Leg Room

The Airlines With the Least Amount of Leg Room
Ariana Arghandewal

Flying economy class sucks. I’m guessing it’s why most of you are desperately earning thousands of miles every day – to avoid cattle class. I hear ya. It’s why I spend Saturday mornings standing in line at Walmart and liquidating tens of thousand of gift cards.

But sometimes you can’t help it – airlines have no premium award availability or perhaps economy class is just significantly cheaper. So you have to bite the bullet and fly economy class. If you have a choice between airlines, you might want to avoid the ones with the smallest seat width:

All Nippon Airlines. I expected better of an Asian carrier, but at 16 inches of width ANA offers the smallest seats of any airline. These 16 inch seats are found on their 777-200ER, but it’s not much better when you get on their 777-300ER. Seat width maxes out at 16.5 inches. ANA’s 787-8 economy class seats do offer a slight improvement at 18.6 inch width.

American Airlines. American Airlines is probably the worst offender on this list in terms of tiny seats on the most number of planes. Even their dream liners have economy class seats as small as 16.2 inches wide.

Air Transat. Canadian carrier Air Transat is yet another carrier in the ~16 club. Economy class seats onboard their A3210 and 737-700 clock in at 16.5 inches. Pass!

AirAsia X. Considering AirAsia X is a low cost carrier, I’m not surprised that their economy class seats are some of the smallest at 16.5 inches. For cheap, short-haul flights around Asia, I personally wouldn’t mind it.

CEBU Pacific Air. Headed to the Philippines? You might want to keep an eye out for CEBU Pacific Air’s A330-300’s. On those planes, economy class seats are a mere 16.5 inches wide.

Hawaiian. Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t have a vast route network, which makes their 16.5 inch economy class seats a bit more forgivable.

Saudia. Saudi Arabia is making a huge push towards attracting non-religious tourists, with plans to unveil Dubai-type cities filled with luxury attractions. So perhaps flying Saudia won’t be so far-flung in the future. Hopefully they’ll do something about their 16.5 inch-wide economy class seats on their 777’s.

LOT Polish. LOT Polish is a Star Alliance member, making them a viable option to get to Europe on points and miles. I’ve actually heard good things about LOT’s business class product, but their economy class seats on their dream liners leave something to be desired at 16.9 inches of space.

Aer Lingus. At 17 inches wide, Are Lingus A330’s have some of the smallest economy class seats around.

Aerolineas Argentinas. Aerolineas Argentinas rounds our the list of smallest economy class seats, at 17 inches. Not bad, but significantly smaller than the lWestJet, which offers 20 inches of width on their 767-300ER.

It’s not always avoidable, but on longer flights it’s best to steer clear of flying economy class with these carriers. To find out more about airline seat width and pitch, be sure to check out SeatGuru.


Have you flown any of these carriers in economy class? Was it as bad as can be expected?

View Comments (10)


  1. roberto99

    July 11, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    The title is about “Amount of Leg Room”. That is about the distance in FRONT of the PAX.

    Why does the author keep mentioning seat WIDTH?????

  2. JoeDaejeon

    July 11, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Being the title of this article is about legroom, but the article only discusses seat width, my guess is the author doesn’t know the difference between seat width and seat pitch.

  3. southpac

    July 12, 2018 at 2:01 am

    seriously ? Reporters should learn that seat pitch doesn’t equal legroom.

    2 aircraft with identical seat pitch & seat configuration, can have vastly different amounts of legroom.

    It’s all about which seats are used.

    Slimline seats can have seat back up to 4 inches thinner than old fashioned seats. The thinner the seat back, the more legroom.

  4. ilcannone

    July 12, 2018 at 2:38 am

    “Saudi Arabia is making a huge push towards attracting non-religious tourists, with plans to unveil Dubai-type cities filled with luxury attractions.”

    Erm…really? Last I checked, any effort to permit ACTUAL tourists has yet to even be confirmed, despite reports online. They’ve been talking about this for years and it simply hasn’t happened!

  5. gglave

    July 12, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Clickbait headline to the article?

    “The Airlines With the Least Amount of Leg Room”

    Actual content of the article?

    “Airlines with narrow seats.”

    Unless you’re sitting SIDEWAYS this article has nothing to do with legroom.

    C’mon FlyerTalk you know better. Change the headline to “Airlines with Narrow Seats”

  6. cpdc1030

    July 12, 2018 at 8:36 am

    AIrAsia X does not offer short haul flights.

    On what aircraft does Hawaiian have 16.5″ wide seats? It’s not mentioned and I doubt it’s true.

    There is no way that WestJet offers 20 inches of width on any aircraft!

    Has the author actually ever even flown on any of these airlines? This article is terrible.

  7. hurnik

    July 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Title is misleading. Says it’s about least amount of leg room, yet it only talks about seat width. I thought leg room was “pitch” on the aircraft (distance between the row/seat in front of you, not how much room ones fanny has to sit on). LOL


    July 13, 2018 at 7:40 am

    And ANA gets kind of a bum rap here, too. At least they go with the more comfortable 2-4-2 which is Boeing’s recommended seating. As opposed to most of the world’s other carriers, which cram in one extra seat in the 3-3-3 configuration.

  9. fotographer

    July 16, 2018 at 11:49 am

    No offense
    But who proof reads these stories
    Next article about seat width will be about leg room

  10. ioto1902

    July 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Interesting to note that ANA is in, while european LCC are not mentionned. This article would have had value if the author actually flew those airlines.

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