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How to Fly Coach in Comfort

How to Fly Coach in Comfort: Choose Your Airline Wisely
JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis

Choose Your Airline Wisely

JetBlue offers a whopping 34 inches of “pitch” (airline-speak for legroom), compared with the standard 31 inches. And of course there’s free DirectTV on every leather seatback.

Southwest Airlines offers “more seat room in all its coach configurations than the major carriers,” says business travel expert Joe Brancatelli. And Southwest doesn’t charge for pillows, blankets, and in-flight snacks.

United and American are on par with other U.S. airlines, but for an extra fee, flyers can book an Economy Plus (UA) or Main Cabin Extra (AA) seat for a few extra inches.

Across the globe, Thai Airways is one of the most generous airlines in this regard, with seat pitch ranging from 31 to 34 inches, and topping out at 36 inches for an economy seat on its A340-500.

Virgin Atlantic was among the first to provide coach passengers with personal seatback entertainment screens (on-demand films, TV shows, and music) and comfort kits (slippers, earplugs, eye masks).

—Reid Bramblett and Bree Sposato


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