A few weeks ago, an AITA Reddit thread blew up when someone took to the Interwebs to ask fellow users for some advice about an uncomfortable incident he had on a flight. This incident involved extra leg room. Here’s what happened.

This gentleman had recently been on a European flight and the person in front of him reclined their seat. To stay comfortable himself, he felt inclined to recline his own. That’s where things got tricky. The “tall” fellow behind him objected, and the recliner informed him if he needed the extra space he should have purchased extra leg room.

The Internet had opinions. Many opinions – on both sides of the issue. We’re wondering what you think.

Point: Tall people should have to pay for an airline ticket with extra leg room

On the one hand, airline seats seem to be getting smaller and smaller. If you want to put your seat back to give yourself a bit of space after spending a not insignificant amount of money on an airline ticket, shouldn’t you be able to do that?

If there’s someone on the flight who (for whatever reason) feels they need more space, is it on you to accommodate their needs and not get a nap in or save yourself from a deep recliner in front of you?

After all, passengers of size can be removed from a flight if they cannot fit into a standard seat using a standard seatbelt. These folks are required to purchase two seats so as not to infringe on other passengers’ space. Should being tall get you special treatment?

Counterpoint: Tall people should not have to pay for an upgraded airline seat with extra leg room

On the other hand, tall guy bought his own seat fair and square. Maybe he’s on a tight budget. He paid just as much as the other passengers. Shouldn’t that buy him a little comfort as well? Or at least, shouldn’t his height not add to his discomfort?

Maybe there’s a third option to explore.

Should airlines make their seats more comfortable for a wider range of bodies?

It’s not a secret that Economy airline seats have become more uncomfortable over the years. It’s a matter of simple economics. The smaller the seats are, the more you can squeeze into Economy! Maybe it’s time to reconsider the space we allocate for Economy passengers. Maybe Jetblue is onto something. In a perfect world, the airlines would be more generous. But do we think that’s going to happen?

What do you think? Should tall folks have to buy their comfort in Economy? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. This is a very hard question to answer. I sincerely feel for tall people. It is not their fault that they are the height they are. At 4’8″, I have the opposite problem. I never get to use the overhead because of my height. By the time I can get someone to help me, all the overhead is taken. Years ago, because I am small, I used to be able to curl up in the seat. Now even I am uncomfortable! So I pity those larger folks. I have also had lots of times where a heavy person sits next to me and proceeds to take up as much of my space as possible. You cannot help your height, but you can help your weight. I do believe heavy people should have to buy the seat next them. I don’t believe tall people should have to pay extra. But it is an argument you will never win with the airlines.

  2. At 6’5″, I really hate to fly now. When I first joined the U.S. Navy in 1987, my first overseas assignment was Japan. When leaving SFO for Tokyo Narita Internationa airport flying on Northwest airlines (at that time) when the plane took off and leveled out enroute to NRT, one of the stewardess noticed my extreme discomfort being in the economy class section. She told me to GET UP, and move to a business class open seat that was available during that flight. It’s costed me nothing. I will never forgot that. Too bad airlines don’t do this good deed anymore!

  3. You only have the right to control the set you purchased if your tall and uncomfortable in a smaller space you have to up grade don’t expect anyone else to accommodate you.

  4. In some cases, regulation is better than none. Congress and the FAA need to regulate the airlines against diminishing seats, seat fees, absurd luggage restrictions/fees etc. Congress keeps bailing airlines out when disasters happen, so they ought to have a more forceful say. Unfortunately, they are cowered.

  5. Airlines need to have comfortable seats period! What they charge for tickets today is outrageous!Airlines are moving into the passengers healthy issues as they keep shrinking the space between seats. They are already charging you for meals, water, luggage checked or carry-on, what else they want to charge for? I guess they now want to charge for reclining your seat. If that’s the case, the airlines should hire a surgeon so he/she can amputate your legs if you’re tall. Somehow I think it’s a form of discrimination for your height. It’s embarrassing what these airlines are doing. I hope the government gets their hands on the airlines so they stop taking advantage of the passengers. I have more than a million flown miles as a passenger and seen how airlines have gone from more to less and less service and yet prices keep going up. Airlines you are all a disgrace!!!

  6. I am a big fan of “if you use it, pay for it,” (or make a different choice/selection/accommodations). I don’t purchase shoes that hurt my feet and don’t order food I don’t like or am allergic to.

  7. I am short and not over weight but even i get cramps in the small seat spaces. No matter how tall you are, airlines want more money and to get it, they make seat space smaller. Make seat space more comfortable and people will fly with that airline more often. A person is born how they are. One should not have to pay extra for being tall

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