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?