Friday, January 2, 2009

AIRLINE TRAVEL: Roomier Seating

Dear Travel Gear Guru –

I am a large man and, as a result, I try to avoid traveling by plane whenever possible.
When I do fly, I try to get a bulkhead or emergency aisle seat and just suffer with a seat belt that is uncomfortably snug.

I’m writing because my daughter is getting married in California this May, and a train won’t work, since we live in Pennsylvania. I checked ticket prices and business class is out of the question. But I can’t even imagine the discomfort I’ll feel after a 6 ½ hour flight. I’m afraid that instead of walking my daughter down the aisle, she’ll have to carry me! What’s a Santa look-alike to do?

Gary T., Philadelphia, PA.

Dear Gary –

In this day and age, when U.S. residents are getting both taller and broader, I really wonder at many airlines’ wisdom in shrinking the roominess of seats and legroom. On some short-distance flights, the width of seats can be as narrow as 16.2” with a pitch (amount of legroom) of only 31” – less than comfortable for all but the most petite of us!

Below are a number of ways you can improve your chances of having a roomier seat when traveling by plane:

§ Look for a 767 airplane model and ask for the aisle seat in the center section. The middle aisle seats fill last and because of the 2-3-2 configuration of the seats, the airline has to be 86% full before the airline begins filling the middle seats. As an alternate, a 777 with a 3-3-3 layout must be 67% full before the middle seats start filling.

§ Visit by Tripadvisor to research airplane layouts on most airlines to discover which seating is more spacious and what amenities are provided.

§ At, we offer three different models of Airline Seat Belt Extenders that work on all major airlines. These extenders are constructed using the same high quality material and FAA standards as airline seat belts, and they add from 22”-28” of extra comfort (depending on the model) for only $48.95.

Follow these suggestions, and I bet you’ll be skipping rather than walking your daughter down the aisle!

The Travel Guru

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