There’s often upside to being tall, but not when it comes to air travel. Seats are notoriously tiny, and legroom can seem almost nonexistent for taller travelers. Unless you’ve got deep pockets and can afford to pay for the larger seats, air travel can be a physically uncomfortable experience. So, what’s a tall person to do? We’ve put together some tips to help.

Politely ask for an exit row seat when you’re tall

The airlines hang on to a number of exit row seats to dole out close to check-in. This is because those seats represent extra income for the airlines. There’s almost always a few people on any flight willing to pay for the upgrade. Now, the days of the airlines giving out free upgrades are motley over. When an upgrade hasn’t been purchased by flight time, it almost always goes to a loyalty program member.

However, someone who can demonstrate they suffer from real discomfort on a flight may be able to sway an airline employee. Anyway, it’s worth a shot. Ask the check-in agent. They will almost always offer you an upgrade for a fee. We recommend passing at this point – you’re looking for a free upgrade.

Get to your gate and assess the gate agent’s stress levels. If you see an agent putting out customer fires, wait until they are free. Then approach that agent and explain that because of your height you were checking for an exit row seat. Sometimes they will ask you to hang tight. Other times, they might ask you to turn over your boarding pass so they can add you into whatever mix of special requests they are juggling on a particular flight. Sometimes they’ll simply tell you no. You still have one more shot.

Wait until boarding is at last-call. There may still be a slim chance that someone hasn’t shown, and maybe you can scoop up that seat. Even if you can’t snag an exit row, there’s a chance you could get moved to a better seat in Economy.

The key to any of these potential scenarios is always asking politely and without anger or irritation. Gate agents are under a lot of pressure pretty much all the time. They do appreciate decency.

Familiarize yourself with different aircraft types to understand seat sizes

Airplanes are configured differently airline to airline, and sometimes even within one airline. The airlines often have older aircraft with one seat configuration and newer with a different layout altogether. It makes sense to consult a site like Seatguru, the airline itself, or an online travel agency like CheapAir.com. On our site, we offer detailed breakdowns of the size and configuration of each seat on every aircraft we sell. This way you can be sure you’re booking a seat on a flight where you can stretch out a bit (or at least not get squished).

Tall people should consider paying a little extra for Economy +

We love to get people the cheapest airline ticket. But we’ve been in this business a long time. And one thing that we have learned – people who tend to book on price alone, can sometimes get disappointed in the travel experience. Sure, some people are so budget conscious that they simply have no choice. If that’s you – we get it. We’ve been there.

But if you have a little extra cash to spend, especially on a longer flight, we recommend that taller folks (or people with other special circumstances) consider the paid upgrade. The comfort can sometimes be the difference between a pleasant start to your vacation and a more aggravated situation.

And sometimes Economy + is the same price or less than another airline. We know this because CheapAir.com offers travelers a simple apples to apples comparison where you can see what every airline ticket includes. Then you can compare 4 different airlines or classes of service to see exactly what you get with each ticket. It’s simple. And it gives you the power to pay a little extra for a little more comfort.

Tall folks should fly at off-peak times for more comfort and choice

Early morning flights, red-eye flights, and flights departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best options to simply not have a packed flight. You’ll be a little more comfortable on a half-full flight. In addition, you’ll likely have a better time getting that free upgrade if a flight is flying less full. And if nothing else, you can spread out a bit in the seat you were assigned if a flight isn’t full. Fly during off-peak for maximum comfort.

Dress comfortably for a flight when you’re tall

This one might seem a little obvious, but when you’re tall you want to avoid constricting clothing. Stay away from tight belts, and pants and shirts without stretch. When your seat on the plane is on the small side, wear clothes that can keep you as comfortable as possible.

Finally, we know that there are a few airlines that offer better comfort overall for tall travelers. Look into flying one of these to maximize your comfort.

Search Flights for Tall People

 

 

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