Though a trip to the movies rarely exceeds two hours for $16, we're puh-retty choosy about our cinema seating. The same goes for a nine hour $800 ride across the ocean. A cushy chair can really make all the difference! And we don't ask a lot. Just that our knees never meet our face, and our tailbones never go numb. Pretty minimal requests, really. Which airlines rank high on our list of most comfy? Depends where you're flying! We've charted our faves by region and carrier.
||Where You’ll Find it Flying||Browser Says|
|Best Overall Domestic||JetBlue||A320
||34”||17.8”||To nearly every destination this New York-based airline flies, from Burlington, VT to Bogota, Colombia.||The best overall, easy-to-score economy seat in the American skies. It’s sturdy, made of leather, kind of wide, and the pitch is plenty generous.
|And in Second Place…||Virgin America||A319, A320 (Fleet-wide)||32”||19.7”||A growing number of North American destinations from its California home.||A wider seat, sure, but the ultra-light seatbacks save fuel, not your spine. Travelers adore Virgin America’s bells and whistles, but for us, it’s all about the seat.|
|Best of the Big Boys||US Airways||A321
||32”||18”||With more than 40 of these in the fleet, you’ll find them on many North American routes.||This relatively low-profile major that’s now linking arms with American proves that sometimes, coach isn’t as awful as you think it’s going to be.|
|32-33”||17”||On all Southwest routes.||More modest than JetBlue, sure, but hey – also leather seats and standard sizing. Say this for Southwest, you always know what you’re getting. And it’s not awful.|
|Best Little Airline||Porter||Bombardier Q400
||34”||17”||Chicago, New York, Washington, Boston and other destinations; hubbed at City Airport, Toronto.||Smart, design-y cabins, decent service and a generous seat pitch (and not-too-shabby width for a prop plane) make this Canadian airline a keeper.|
|Best bet for Hawaii||Hawaiian||A330
||32”||18”||Many longer flights on Hawaiian’s growing network – the airline offers an increasing number of Asian destinations, if you don’t mind a Hawaii stopover. (Life’s tough.)
||Never known for roominess, Hawaiian’s coach product gets a big upgrade with these new planes. Comfy seats, seat-back televisions and USB ports spell W-I-N to us. The only thing we don’t like: Going back to the older planes after flying these.|
|More room in Latin America||Aeromexico||B777
||34”||18.47”||We’ve mostly spied these on long-haul routes from Mexico, which means U.S. travelers shouldn’t expect to see them all that often, if ever.||A pleasantly spacious seat, where you least expect it. These planes – there are only a handful in the Aeromexico fleet – aren’t commonly seen in the United States, sadly.|
|Best economy to Europe||Air France||A380
||32”||19”||New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Montreal all enjoy regular service to Paris on these big birds.||Great seat width and decent pitch – better than British Airways or Virgin Atlantic with their 31 inches – make this a fine choice for economy passengers to Western Europe who don’t like being cramped.|
|How to get to Asia (and Europe, too)||Singapore||A380
||32”||19”||From New York to Singapore via Frankfurt and Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo. (Passengers can book Frankfurt and Tokyo as final destinations.)||Korean Air’s new A380’s may have two more inches of pitch and ANA’s B787’s definitely come close on size, but neither airline is quite as alluring as Singapore, with its usually very good service and solid in-flight offerings. Europe-bound travelers should give the New York-Frankfurt flight at least a price check. It’s a good one.
|One for the Bucket List||Qatar||B777
||32”||18.9’||From New York, Washington and Houston to pretty much anywhere east, via Doha.||Repeatedly found up at or near the top of those Best Airlines Of All Time, Ever list, Qatar’s seats, service and in-flight are definitely worthy. Intro fares for new Chicago service (starting in April) to India, Thailand, and elsewhere were on sale recently from $1,001 round-trip, including taxes and fees.|