You may think flying Economy means you have to sacrifice comfort (and considering some of the offerings out there, we can’t blame you for thinking so!) But we’ve done the legwork to uncover the most comfortable seats in Economy. Just because you’re a bargain flight shopper, it doesn’t always mean giving up comfort.

Criteria for Identifying Comfortable Economy Seats

Here’s how we did it. Our experts looked at the three most critical components of “comfort” criteria for Economy seats. It boils down to three things – seat pitch (a fancy word for legroom), seat size and inflight amenities. Our research definitely gives some air carriers the edge. To be sure, most people flying Economy do so because they’re willing to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles for a lower priced ticket. But some airlines deliver low cost airline tickets PLUS a more comfortable ride. Let’s take a look at which carriers are head of the class.

JetBlue Offers Superior Comfort in Economy

Frankly, it’s tough to beat JetBlue in Economy. Every seat on every airplane offers inflight entertainment on a personal seatback screen. If you’re not into that, maybe you’ll like the free wifi. In addition, you’ll get some of the widest seats available on domestic airlines and better than average legroom. JetBlue also has a nice selection of free snacks and complimentary drink service (you’ll pay for alcohol but everything else is free. What’s not to love?

Seat Pitch: 32-34”
Seat Size: 17.8 – 18.4”
InFlight Amenities: Seatback screens on all flights, free wifi, power outlets and USB on most

Alaska Airlines Accomplishes Comfort in Economy

Alaska Airlines has seats almost as wide as JetBlue, and just an inch or two less legroom than JetBlue. But they do not offer seatback screens (Boo! Hiss!) so we had to dock them a few points. For these reasons, we give them the “Nearly Exceptional Economy” award. Most of the Alaska Fleet gives you free wifi, as well as USB and power outlets. Keep in mind, on longer flights you do have the option to rent a tablet (if you didn’t already bring your own).

Seat Pitch: 31-32”
Seat Size: 17 – 18”
InFlight Amenities: No seatback screens, free wifi, power outlets and USB

Delta Airlines Delivers Comfort in Economy

Some of Delta’s seats are slightly wider than top dog, JetBlue’s. Delta also offers free inflight entertainment which if you fly regularly, you know is not the norm. You can stream the entertainment on any personal device including your phone, tablet or laptop. Most long-haul flights do have seat back screens and free drinks / dining.

Seat Pitch: 30-32”
Seat Size: 17.2 – 18.5”
InFlight Amenities: Seat back screens on almost all flights, wifi, power and USB on most

Hawaiian Airlines’ Economy Seats are a Crowd Pleaser

While Hawaiian Airlines does have the same seat pitch and width as Delta, it falls far short on some inflight amenities. But we relaxed this strict criteria for Hawaii, because of its liberal inflight drinks policy (everything is free!), and better-than-average dining. About the biggest drawback to taking a Hawaiian flight – is simply the limited number of destinations you can travel to on the airline.

Seat Pitch: 30-32”
Seat Size: 17.2 – 18.5”
InFlight Amenities: Seat back screens on some flights, no wifi, power and USB on most

Honorable Mention for Cheery Southwest Flight Crews

We do have to give a quick shoutout to Southwest, mainly because customers do love the fun-loving flight crews. And these days, passengers NEED kindness. BUT, and this is a big but – the cattle call at boarding is still a real bummer, as is the lack of power outlets.

We won’t get into the weeds on who scrimps in their Economy Class – that’s for another time. Just know this: when you do end up on one of these airlines, it means you’ve hit the sweet spot – an Economy seat with comfort and value!

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2 Comments

  1. southwest rocks!! Always on time, Always freindly: no condescending flight crew like United has, and I would not call the boarding cattle call or chute, it is organized and very quick and seasoned southwest travellers know the drill. Ya get on and pick a seat, pretty dang sweet.

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