Air Seats

Have you ever had a great flight and vowed only to travel on that same airline for future travel? Then the next time, the same airline seems a little bit less comfortable and you can’t understand why? Sometimes, within the same plane certain seats are actually bigger, and provide more space for passengers.

In an article called, “Choose your air seat with care,” Doug English of Sun Media wrote, “Size matters. So does seat location. Ask anyone — the vertically challenged excepted — who has done a long-haul flight in economy.

Airline hell, for me, would be the middle seat on one of those foreign charter airlines that really scrimps on space. I know because that’s what I was once assigned for a flight from Toronto to Mexico, and I ended up standing most of the way.

The carrier was British-owned Air 2000, which I’d never heard of but which my lumbar region has never forgotten. The problem was pitch — the distance between two seats, one behind the other. It’s measured in inches; for centimetres, multiply by 2.5. Air 2000’s seat pitch is only 29 inches, two inches less than that of most scheduled airlines.

The website lists the pitch of most of the world’s airlines. It declares that pitch is not the same as legroom, but the numbers are worth checking when you’re facing a long- or medium-range flight.

Air Canada’s pitch is 32. shows WestJet’s at 33 to 35. That seemed suspiciously big, so I checked WestJet’s own website. It shows a pitch of 32 for its 737-700 aircraft, and “an average” of 30 for its 737-200 series.

Bear in mind that the numbers represent typical seat pitch offered on international flights. “This may not be available on all of an airline’s fleet of aircraft,” the website cautions, “and in some cases the dimensions shown illustrate the latest seat introductions by each airline.”

Passengers lucky enough to score bulkhead seats have considerably more leg room. I often enquire about emergency exit rows, which are also roomier.

Business class is too expensive for most leisure travellers, but there are alternatives…”

So, do a little seat research before you purchase airline tickets. Explore a few different airlines before you choose the most comfortable for you. Especially if you are planning on being in a plane for a long period of time.