Flying high (and comfortable) when you’re tall

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For tall fliers, expanded legroom seats are well worth the extra cost.

Tall people everywhere know how frustrating – and uncomfortable – it can be trying to squeeze in to seats nearly anywhere: sports stadiums and arenas, movie theaters, taxis – and especially airplanes. Being 6’4, I’ve learned that flying any longer than two hours with my knees tucked underneath my chin is no way to start or end a trip.

For years, ample legroom was the province of those shelling out big bucks for first class, or those with expense accounts for business seats. Fortunately, the last few years have seen more and more airlines offering expanded legroom seats as an option during booking. And, from my experience, they’re well worth it.

As an experiment, I recently took a flight on JetBlue – flying to Denver in a regular seat, and back to Boston with the extra legroom option ($40 extra). The standard seating wasn’t uncomfortable, but I was blown away with the difference in comfort when I flew home with an Even More Space seat with a full 38 inches of legroom. I was even able to stand up straight upon landing.

JetBlue’s standard seating option
JetBlue’s Even More Space option

Since then, it’s been a must-have for my bookings, and is especially useful on red-eye flights. It’s worth looking for this option whichever airline you book.

Other airlines are offering more space: Delta now has an Economy Comfort class with an extra four inches of legroom; Continental, United and Virgin America offer similar extra legroom options.

If you don’t feel like parting with the extra cash for more legroom, or your flight or airline doesn’t have that option, here are a few hints:

  • Exit row seats can be an ideal substitute, and even have more legroom on some planes.
  • Bulkhead seats can have ample room as well since there’s usually no seat in front.
  • The back of the plane is usually reserved for last-minute flights, and if the plane’s not full, you may luck out with an empty seat, plus there can be a bit more space in general.

There are some fantastic resources online going more in depth with tips for the tall flier. Some helpful ones I’ve found are HeightSite, a legroom guide written by an Australian professor, VirtualWayfarer, Growtall.com, and a piece Brett Snyder of the Cranky Flier wrote for CNN.com. Cheapflights also has a handy legroom guide as well.

Flying high (and comfortable) when you’re tall was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Martin Clinton