Seat pitch is measured from the top of one seat to the one in front of it, shown in this awesome image I made for you.

Seat Pitch is the distance from any point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it (my graphic isn't 100% on, but gives you the jist). Bigger is better!

My recent blog on Spirit Airline’s non-reclining seats made me think, “what seat pitches do other airlines have and is Spirit’s new pitch all that bad?”

Using I took a look at different airlines around the world. Here are the airlines and planes with the worst seat-pitch in economy class for short-haul flights:

Airlines/Planes with 28″ Pitch:
* Finnair on Boeing 757-200 [28-29″]
* Monarch Airlines on Airbus A300-600, A320-200, and A321-200 [28-29″]
* Monarch Airlines on Boeing 757-200 [28-34″]
* Spirit Airline’s NEW non-reclining seats

Airlines/Planes with 29″ Pitch:
* Air India Express with Boeing 737-800 [29-30″]
* bmibaby with Boeing 737-300 [29-31″]
* Hainan Airlines with Boeing 737-300 [29-31″]
* Gulf Air with Airbus A321-100/200 [29-32″]
* easyJet with Airbus A320/A319
* Horizon Air with Bombardier Q400 [29-30″]

Some of these had ranges of pitch, but I chose the smallest pitch. The range might vary because a plane might have a few rows with smaller pitch to fit in more seats. I have placed the range in brackets after the airline (if they have a range).

You know what is entertaining? RYANAIR HAS A SEAT PITCH OF 30″ and they are probably seen as the worlds biggest (worst) “no-frills” airline. That surprised me. Just for the fun of it, here are airlines with more than 34″ of pitch on economy short-hauls:

Airlines/Planes with at least 34″ Pitch:
* Finnair Airbus A319 [37″]
* JetBlue Airbus A320 [34-38″]
* Thomas Cook Boeing 757-200 [35″]
* MexicanaClick Fokker 100 [34-35″]
* Westjet Boeing 737-800 [34″]
* Porter Airlines Q400 [34″]
* Air Canada CRJ-705 [34″]

It is interesting that Finnair makes it on two of the lists.

The problem is most passengers don’t know about seat pitch and don’t use that when comparing which airline to fly on. Would a passenger be willing to not fly on an airline due to seat pitch? I doubt it.

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Frank Foort

Is that really how pitch is measured? They should call it something else, because most uses of pitch would be from, e. g., back-of-seat to the next back-of-seat.

“Seat Pitch is the distance from any point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it.” — I am gonna put that quote in the photo caption I think.

It was hard finding a good photo with a good side profile. A few lame stick figures out there, but gives you a good jist. Bigger is better :)


While I have never measure seat pitch before on the airlines I fly I cant imagine losing 2″s As it is being 6’2″ with a 36″ inseam my knees already seem to be within an inch of touching the seatback on normal coach planes.

Say what you will but size does matter. 2″ can be the difference between getting there and getting there with cramps.


True. It matters a lot to me. I normally have my little netbook when flying and those extra inches being a heavier 6’1″ guy really makes a difference.

But I think most passengers care while flying, but at that point it is too late. I don’t think most look at seat pitch when buying tickets.

I know there are a lot of times I forget to check SeatGuru before flying and hate myself for it later :)


Dave Paisley

It’s important to recognize that some layouts gave a couple of short pitched seats to squeeze an extra row in due to the way all the items in the layout work together. So an airplane could be mostly 30 or 31 but have a few at 29. Very different than a whole airplane at 29 (or worse)

Hey Dave!

You make a VERY good point. I have gone through and notated the airlines that have a range. But most of the range is just one inch, except for Monarch’s Boeing 757, which is 28-24″ which is a huge range.



If I recall correctly, I think Tiger Airways of Singapore was pretty tight on their A320. They’re configured for 180, and had a pitch of 72.5 cm (about 28.5″). Tight squeeze! So, when I flew back from Phuket to Singapore, I made sure I checked in early enough to grab the exit row. I see nowadays though, they have a seat selection and for another S$25 (US$18.20) you can get the exit rows of 97.5cm or just over 38″

The Ryanair thing completely took me by surprise. I would’ve expected them to have 19 inch pitch or something like that. Yes, I’m exaggerating.



The Finnair 757 are for charter use only – that’s why the seat pitch is so minimal.

Ah, that makes sense then!


my personal experience:

best = emirates and etihaad airlines

worst: american arilines

so so: northwest/delta

Ann Riley

Well, I must be really sad cause i ALWAYS check sites like seat guru for pitch etc, I also look at for interior pics of potential flights to see what it may be like. I do my homework even checking best seat if overhead monitors only (so not to be too far away!!).

I like to be prepared and have never had a bad flight (in economy) because it matters to me so i find doing a bit of ‘homework’ does pay off.

Another thing i will never pick a single aisle plane if i can get a twin aisle even if i have to adapt a bit, too claustrophobic etc, etc,.

Finnair truly does have a lousy seat pitch on those 757s!

Seat Pitch is the sound passengers make when complaining about the small space between airline seats…

I got this info from SunExpress. (Lufthansa & Turkish Airlines cheap flight company based in Antalya):

Here is the seat details below,

width: 43 cm (16.9″) – depth: 42 cm – Portion of the seat back recline 70 cm (27.55″) – footwell distance is approximately 31 cm

That’s the worst numbers I’ve seen so far! They cram 34 rows of seats in to a B737-800!!

I fly Ryanair regularly as my local airport has not many options. Usually short haul flights and it´s not a bad experience. While I wouldn´t choose it compared to others, their pitch is standard or comparable to others in the sector.

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