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An extra legroom crib sheet – where to find the best seats

by on Wed March 25, 2015 • 11 Comments


Almost every U.S. airline now has a dedicated section of extra legroom seats for sale, and they are busy one-upping each other on amenities to the point that these sections are inching closer to feeling like first class on some flights.

But what that extra legroom fee buys you varies widely by airline, within airlines, and even the same aircraft. Sites like can be helpful for figuring out what you’re getting, but lack detail like which bulkhead rows actually have really good legroom.

We’ve combed through seat maps and detailed notes from the online community at FlyerTalk to compile this crib sheet of what legroom you’ll really get, which seats to avoid, and which to snag first.

What does extra legroom buy you?

With some airlines, like United, you just get extra legroom. But others offer free drinks, wider seats, and even priority boarding or security. Keep those extras in mind, as for the same routes extra legroom prices can vary substantially. For example, on some flights from New York to London, Delta will sell a Comfort+ seat for $79 one way, while United sells an Economy Plus seat for $139 or more, and on American a Main Cabin Extra seat for the same days and times sells for $136 or more. And all three are charging similar airfare, so choosing the lower priced legroom option can save you $120 or more roundtrip.

Extra LegroomPriority BoardingPriority SecuritySnacks / DrinksWider Seat
American Main Cabin Extra4-6 inchesGroup 1NoNo777-300ER - 9 abreast instead of 10 abreast
Delta Comfort +3-4 inchesSkyPriorityNoSnacks 900+ miles, Drinks 250+ milesNo
Frontier Stretch Seating5-7 inchesZone 1NoNoNo
JetBlue Even More Space6 inchesYesYesNoNo
Spirit Big Front Seat6 inchesNoNoNoYes, no middle seats
United EconomyPlusUp to 5 inchesNoNoNoNo
Virgin America Main Cabin Select6 inchesYesYesYesNo

What are the best aircraft for legroom?

Most extra legroom sections only offer 34″- 35″ of space, which is noticeable, but not roomy. If you want space that feels roomy, look for extra legroom sections with 36″ or more of legroom available. These include:

  • American Airlines’ 757-200, with some configurations as high as 39″.
  • American Airlines’ 777-300ER with 36″ and only 9 seats abreast instead of 10 in the regular Economy cabin.
  • United Airlines’ 737-700 with 36″ of legroom.
  • United Airlines’ 757-200 aircraft with 36″ on domestic configurations and 37″ on international configurations.
  • Any extra legroom seat on Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, or Virgin America. All offer 36″ or more of legroom.

There are exceptions with more legroom listed below thanks to some ‘soft’ bulkhead and exit row seats that have both lots of legroom and good places to store your bags. We’ve identified them thanks to good notes from the community at, and have linked to relevant threads that offer more detail.

American Main Cabin Extra

Here’s a link to the official seat maps from American, but they’re not very useful because they don’t show what seats have extra legroom. A page for investors lists the seat pitch by aircraft type. You can expect about 34″-36″ of legroom in Main Cabin Extra.

  • A319 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good space and storage.
  • A321T – 35″ of legroom. Row 11, the exit row, has the most room, though window seats are blocked a bit by the door.
  • 763 – 35″ of legroom. Exit Rows 21 AB/HJ have the most room. Others like Row 13 because there is no seat behind and you can put items under the seat without taking up leg space.
  • 757 – 36″ of legroom (some seats as high as 39″). 10A and 10F have essentially unlimited legroom, and Row 9 is also extra spacious.
  • 737 – 35″ of legroom. Avoid bulkhead seats with restricted space, while Exit Row 15 has the most space and normal recline. Note that some 737s where economy class begins at Row 8 have a blocked middle seat in Row 16 and 17, which means extra width for you, though those seats are not extra legroom seats, and if a newer plane is swapped you may lose your seat assignment. Those planes also have better room at bulkheads than newer configurations.
  • MD80 – 35″ of legroom. Exit Row 21 has the most room, bulkhead Row 7 the least.
  • 777-300 – 36″ of legroom. Row 16 has the most room, but its window seats face some door intrusion. Main Cabin Extra Rows 16-19 are slightly wider than the rest of the Economy Class seats on the plane, as there are only 9 seats per row instead of 10.
  • 777-200 – Most planes don’t yet have a Main Cabin Extra section. They will be 9 abreast instead of 10 abreast in the regular Economy section. Legroom may be similar to the 36″ in the 777-300 aircraft.
  • 787  – Just entered service but indications show 36″ of legroom.

Delta Comfort+

Delta’s Comfort+ seating is pretty consistent, with planes serving domestic markets having 34 inches of legroom, and those for long haul international markets having 35 inches. That’s not exceptionally generous, but Delta tries to make up for it with free snacks and drinks on many flights, along with extra recline on most flights. Here are Delta’s official seat maps.

Delta is the only of the big airlines that charges the same price for every extra legroom seat on a single flight. So if you grab one that has more legroom than the others, you’re getting a better deal.

  • 747 – 35″ of legroom. Row 22  bulkheads tend to have generous room, but are near the lavatory.
  • 777 – 35″ of legroom. Row 29 bulkheads have good legroom, as does the non Comfort Plus exit row 44.
  • A333 – 35″ of legroom. Row 10 bulkhead has good legroom, as does exit row 27AB / HJ.
  • A332 – 35″ of legroom. Row 10 bulkhead and exit 22AB / HJ have the most legroom
  • 767-400 – 35″ of legroom. The bulkhead row 15 gets mixed reviews.
  • 767-300 – 35″ of legroom. There are several configurations of 767-300 aircraft. On aircraft with exit rows (20-21), those rows have extra space, and full recline. Bulkheads are not as restricted as on the 767-400.
  • 757-200 (international / transcontinental) – 34″-35″ of legroom. Row 19 has unlimited legroom, though 19A and F are blocked somewhat by the door. You can distinguish these aircraft because they only have 16 first class seats.
  • 757-200 (domestic) – 34″-35″ of legroom. There are many configurations, but no major issues reported, only that similar to the international 757s, window seats in the first row can be blocked by the door. We would caution against bulkhead Row 15 of the new ‘757-200H‘ configuration until there are more reports, though, while Row 17 of that aircraft is directly across the aisle from the lavatory. Eventually all 757 domestic aircraft will use the ‘H’ configuration.
  • 757-300 – 34″ -35″ of legroom. Row 16 has restricted legroom.
  • 737-900 – 34″ of legroom. Bulkhead aisles tend to have more space.
  • 737-800 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead row gets mixed reviews.
  • 737-700 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good room and storage space.
  • MD-88 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom and storage space.
  • MD-90 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom and storage space.
  • 717 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom and storage space.
  • A320 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom and storage space.
  • A319 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom and storage space.
  • CR700/900: 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom.
  • Embraer 170/175 – 34″ of legroom. The bulkhead has good legroom.

Frontier Stretch Seating

  • A319: 36″-38″ legroom.
  • A320: 36″-38″ legroom. Avoid Stretch Row 11 on the A320 which doesn’t recline.

JetBlue Even More Space

JetBlue and Virgin America have the most consistently generous extra legroom, with space that matches most airline’s first class legroom.

  • A320 – 38″-39″ legroom. Avoid Row 1 with restricted space and Row 10 with no recline.
  • A321 – 37″-41″ legroom. Avoid Row 1 with restricted space.
  • A321 Transcontinental – 37″-41″ legroom. No seats with significant space issues.
  • E190 – 39″ legroom. Avoid Row 1  with restricted space.

Spirit Big Front Seat

Spirit’s Big Front Seats are very similar to the First Class seats you’ll see on American, Delta, or United. They’re wide, at the very front of the plane, and you’ll never be stuck in a middle seat.

  • A319 – 36″ legroom. The first row has no floor storage space.
  • A320/321 – 36″ legroom. Only one row of seats, and no floor storage space.

United Economy Plus

United’s Economy Plus legroom can vary – from as low as 34″ on many domestic aircraft and its 747s to as high as 37″ on its international 757-200s. Here are United’s official seat maps.

  • 787 – 35″ of legroom. The first row of economy has very good legroom unless you are very tall. Row 27 also has extra space, with the exception of the window seats which have intrusion from the doors.
  • 747 – With only 34″ of pitch the 747 EconomyPlus section is one of the least roomy among long haul extra legroom seats. The bulkhead row 19 gets mixed reviews.
  • 777 (Version 1Version 2Version 3) – 34″ legroom on Version 1 and 2 (aircraft with 3 cabins – First, Business, Economy), and 35″ on aircraft with 2 cabins (Business, Economy). Bulkheads have more legroom than standard Economy Plus seats on all aircraft, but no storage space. Row 21 C and H on Version 1 and Version 2 have no seat in front, and extra legroom. Seats 20A/B and J/K are most coveted as standalone pairs with good legroom.
  • 767-300  (Version 1Version 2) – 34″ of legroom on Version 1 (aircraft with 3 cabins – First, Business, Economy), and 35″ on Version 2 aircraft with 2 cabins. Avoid Row 19 on Version 1 aircraft, with restricted legroom. Row 20 is considered the most desirable by many. On Version 2 avoid row 20 AB/KL with limited recline. Row 21 AB/KL also has limited recline but more legroom. 18A/B have unlimited legroom, but are often blocked until 2 days before departure.
  • 757-200 – (DomesticInternational) 36″ of legroom on domestic 757s and a generous 37″ on international aircraft. Row 20 is the only row to be considered significantly less comfortable than others, with limited recline. Bulkhead Row 8 on international aircraft has good legroom but no storage space.
  • 757-300 – 35″ of legroom. Avoid limited recline row 20. Bulkhead Row 8 is acceptable with good legroom but no storage space.
  • 737-700 – 36″ of legroom. The bulkhead Row 7 has good legroom and storage space.
  • 737-800 -34″-35″ of legroom. Seats 8 ABC on planes with a lavatory in front of it have limited space. Row 7 has good legroom and storage, but beware of aircraft where the lavatory is located across from Row 7.
  • 737-900 – 34″-35″ of legroom. Seats 8 ABC have restricted foot space. Row 7 has good legroom and storage, but the lavatory is located directly across the aisle.
  • A319 – Row 7 has excellent space and storage.
  • A320 – Row 7 has excellent space and storage.
  • CR700 – 34″ of legroom. Row 7 has excellent space. Exit Row 18 is not as spacious as most exit rows.
  • Embraer 170/175 – Row 7 has excellent space.
  • Embraer 135/145 – Row 1 and 2 bulkheads have limited space. Row 18 has excellent space and storage.
  • Q400 – Row 7 has excellent space.

Virgin America Main Cabin Select

There aren’t many extra legroom seats in Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select, but they all match the 38″ of legroom you usually find in first class on other airlines. And you get free onboard snacks and drinks.

  • A319 – 38″ of legroom, no space issues to report.
  • A320 – 38″ of legroom, no space issues to report.



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11 thoughts on An extra legroom crib sheet – where to find the best seats

  1. Soni

    American Airlines 777-200er- I’m purchasing two main cabin extra seats (9 across). Does the bulkhead row (13 A-L) offer more legroom or is the partition too close to the seats? Is there extra storage? Which main cabin extra seats are best for an international flight?

  2. Stacey Prior

    One of the bits of information that I am trouble finding out is the size of the under seat room on American Airlines and Delta flights. I prefer the aisle but have found my very small bag usually won’t fit under the seat on the aisle, even though it fits fine in the middle. I started booking window seats, only to find out that it is hit and miss, usually either the aisle or window seat that is smaller underneath. Any direction you can point me (besides a middle seat…lol) that may have this info? Typically I fly on the American 737-800 and MD80’s and Delta 767-900ER and Airbus A-321. Thank you!


      @Stacey – That’s tougher – the power outlet and video boxes are the trouble. Seatguru has some user comments, but like you’re noticing nothing reliable at this point. This is the hidden reason overhead bin space is so tight these days.

  3. George

    Great info, at least from my experience, as I am almost always in an AA exit row (or business) and those descriptions are all spot on! But I have an upcoming flight on Delta, JFK>SLC, booked by a friend in Comfort+.

    Is Row 10 (bulkhead) ABEF any good? There are mixed reports. 1) It’s not clear if it’s a 737-800 “738” or 737-800 “73H” Is there a way to find out? Because some people say Row 10 on the “738” doesn’t recline. 2) Is the bulkhead a curtain or hard plastic? Is it cramped w/less legroom? Again, conflicting reports. I can change to row 11 at this point, but I like bulkheads unless I’m really squeezed….Thanks!


      @George No issues with recline, but on some of the planes there is a hard bulkhead, so no place for your bag, but plenty of legroom.

  4. Priscilla

    We’re traveling to Vegas next week — presently sitting in Row 20 on our Jet Blue flights to and from JFK to Vegas. I was thinking of purchasing an even more room seat but the only ones left on the A321 are Row 22, Seat E & F (only two seats there) and Exit Rows 22 & 23 — Seats A, B, & C and on the return on the A320 Rows 11 and Rows 3 & 4 Seats A, B, C, D, E & F. Which would you suggest? Thanks.


      @Pricilla – 22BC will ensure you both have unobstructed space in front. 22EF will have no one sitting in the aisle – it’s reserved for a flight attendant. Though the F seat will have the door protruding a bit, though it’s not a big deal. Probably go with 22BC if you don’t mind a stranger in the window seat. 22EF if you prefer more privacy.

      On the return the exit row 11 will have more legroom, though try to avoid the window seat as the seat cushion is sometimes a bit harder there.

  5. sle

    Question re: Jetblue 320. I always buy an extra room seat.
    Does row 11 C give more legroom than the first 5 rows?
    Both are extra room seats. I was wondering whether it is worth sitting further back in row 11 for extra leg room. If not, I will choose the even more aisle seat in rows 1 2 through 5.


      @sle – Yes it’s an exit door row so it has more space than a typical extra legroom row, though the seat cushion may be a bit thinner.

  6. Jose

    I think you misread AA’s fleet stats. The 777-300’s Main Cabin Extra seats have 36″ of legroom, not 35″. I agree that MCE row 13 on AA’s 767-300 is a great choice, having sat in that row myself on a flight a few months ago. On AA’s 737’s w/out row 7, the bulkhead is an excellent choice cause it has tons of legroom, but the PTV is hard to reach w/out undoing your seat belt. As for AA’s reconfigured 777-200, According to SeatGuru, the MCE seats on that verison, marked as version 2, have 36-37″ of legroom and like the 777-300 are also slightly wider in a 9 across setup.

    Also, the economy plus seats on version 3 of United’s 737-800 have at least 37″ of legroom.


      @Jose – Yes that was a typo, thanks for pointing it out. Sadly those Version 3 United 737s are not long for this world and being retrofitted with tighter seats as they go slimline and become Version 5 and 6.


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