The 5 Most Comfortable Airlines for Flying Economy


Three people sitting in consecutive aisle seats on an airplane.

Image source: Getty Images

From legroom to in-flight entertainment, these airlines will keep you satisfied on a budget.

Flying economy is a great way to travel while keeping your personal finances under control, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice all your comfort to do so.

These days, it might feel like every airline is getting rid of leg room and in-flight amenities for passengers who aren’t willing to shell out the big bucks, but there are still a few good ones left. With the right airline, you won’t have to deal with your knees getting crushed by the seat in front of you.

We looked at economy seat dimensions, pitch (legroom), and in-flight amenities on the most common airplanes used by every major airline. The seat dimensions listed don’t include all of the planes flown by each airline — instead, we counted only those planes that economy passengers are most likely to fly on. Based on that data, here are the five best airlines for flying economy.

1. JetBlue

Seat dimensions

Seatback screens

Wifi

Power outlets

Pitch: 32 to 34 inches
Width: 17.8 to 18.4 inches

All flights

All flights

Power and USB outlets on most flights

Data Source: seatguru.com

It’s hard to beat JetBlue when it comes to both comfort and budget. The airline routinely has some of the best flight prices, and it doesn’t skimp on economy seating to offer you a deal.

Its seats are some of the widest on this list, and the legroom is decent, too. Even the best U.S. airlines often cut back on in-flight entertainment for short-haul flights, but JetBlue is the only domestic airline with seatback screens on every single seat, on every single plane. It’s also the only domestic airline to offer free wifi on every flight

2. Emirates

Seat dimensions

Seatback screens

Wifi

Power/USB outlets

Pitch: 32 to 34 inches
Width: 17 to 18 inches

All flights

Most flights

Power and USB outlets at most seats

Data Source: seatguru.com

Seat dimensions

Seatback screens

Wifi

Power/USB outlets

Pitch: 30 to 32 inches
Width: 17.2 to 18.5 inches

Most flights

All flights

Power and USB outlets on some flights

Data Source: seatguru.com

On top of maintaining decent seat dimensions, Delta is the first U.S. airline to offer all its in-flight entertainment for free. You’ll likely have seatback screens on a long-haul flight, although not on some of the shorter flights. You can connect to its in-flight wifi with any phone, tablet, or laptop and access its in-flight entertainment that way.

If you want additional legroom but aren’t willing to splurge on a business class ticket, you could always consider upgrading to Comfort+ for a few extra inches.

4. Hawaiian Airlines

Seat dimensions

Seatback screens

Wifi

Power/USB outlets

Pitch: 30 to 32 inches
Width: 17.2 to 18.5 inches

Some flights

No

USB plugs on almost all flights

Data Source: seatguru.com

Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t provide the best in-flight amenities, considering it doesn’t offer wifi and only has seatback screens on some flights. However, it does offer roomier seats in economy than most airlines do. If you’re flying to Hawaii in economy, Hawaiian Airlines is the way to go.

5. Alaska Airlines

Alaska doesn’t offer seatback screens. But on longer flights, you will have the choice to rent a tablet that’s pre-loaded with ample entertainment options. You’ll also get wifi access on all Alaska Airlines planes (except its Q400) and both power and USB outlets. This should have you covered in the entertainment department, and Alaska’s seats are relatively generous as well.

Airlines might be skimping more and more nowadays, but if you choose the right airline, you can still travel on a budget in 2021 without sacrificing all your legroom.

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