Cheap and cheeky tricks to get you more leg room

Font Size:

I’m an average-sized bloke who still finds plane seats cramped and often uncomfortable. Then I look around the gate lounge and see those poor long-legged souls and I’m happier with my lot. How do they cope with the tight fit in economy? I’ll never know. Or then again, maybe they know these cheeky tricks to get more leg room on a plane.

Maybe they checked out the seat pitch and width before they booked?
Every airline is different when it comes to seat pitch and width. Take a look at the table from and you’ll see what I mean.

Seat pitch is the distance from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. Seat width is self-explanatory. Seat pitched on domestic carriers ranges from 71cm to just under 79cm. While many of you may think that Qantas offers the best deals on seats, dollar for dollar, Jetstar wins the best seat war.

Referring to the table, you’ll see that it really depends on which type of plane you fly for the best seat options. For example, Virgin’s A320 planes have a seat pitch of 45.2cm and width of 78cm, whereas the Boeing 737s have a seat pitch of 43cm and width of 78cm. Trust me, 2cm can be the difference between cramps and comfort.

You can usually find information about seat pitch during the booking process. At the very least, information on the type of plane you’ll be flying on is made available, then you can refer to this table to find out which type has the seats with the most room. Or you can check out for more information about your plane’s seats.

Maybe they pay for Premium Economy?
If you can’t be bothered doing your research, then fork out the extra money for a Premium Economy seat. I can’t recommend this option enough for long-haul flights. Look at the table and tell me I’m lying. Depending on the airline, it’s usually not a lot more than the cost of an Economy seat, and the money is well worth your comfort.

Maybe they ask for the emergency exit row seat?
While some airlines may charge extra for emergency exit row seats, others offer them for the same cost or a few dollars extra. On some planes, an emergency exit seat can have almost double the leg room, which is why they sell out or are earmarked pretty quickly. The downside to some emergency exit seats are that you may not be able to recline your seat and you may not be able to stow luggage beneath or in front of you.

Maybe they book an aisle seat?
This is my go-to budget leg-room trick. It’s not even a trick really. Aisle seats have the same seat pitch as the other seats in the row but having that extra room on one side allows you to stretch out your legs. Just be careful when the flight attendants are pushing that cart up and down the aisle, you may lose a toe (just kidding). The downside to aisle seats are you’ll always have to give way to the middle and window seat passengers, if they want to walk around the cabin or need to visit the loo (especially bad if they have a weak bladder)  and you’ll often be bumped by ‘wide’ people walking down the aisle, which is really annoying when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

Maybe they book a seat in the back?
Typically, the front of the plane books out faster than the back. This is because being in front or over the wings usually ensures a smoother, quieter (and, sometimes, less smelly) ride. Sometimes, those who roll the dice on a back seat can end up with an empty seat next to them. The big winners can get the whole row to themselves. Here’s a tip: book the middle seat in a back row on an early or late plane and you’ll improve your changes of an empty row – or at least an empty seat next to you – because everyone wants a middle or aisle seat.

Do you have any tips for getting more leg room?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.


Which airline is putting the squeeze on economy passengers?

Economy seating is about to become even squishier.

Travel SOS: Which airline has the best premium economy?

Mick is planning a trip to the US and wants to know how to find the best seats he can afford.

Insider tips: How to avoid the worst seat on the plane

Don't get caught in the middle seat with your back against a toilet wall again.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Seniors Finance

Be a savvier saver with these nine tips

Many people have seen their savings pots wiped out by the impact of the pandemic. At the other end of...

Finance News

Big four banks dragged to court over credit 'rort'

Screaming, dressed in glistening armour and wielding an axe, Aaron Flores has defended the honour of Australia on the battlefield....

Health news

Public toilets are a disease risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more people than ever to consider the potential for airborne particles to damage their health,...


Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's best style moments

They're one of Hollywood's most enduring - and beloved - celebrity couples. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn started dating on...

Superannuation News

Super fund recovery steps up pace

Long-term trends such as the digitisation or economies and work automation, which have been sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic,...

Finance News

Financial advisers lobby for permanent reduction in regulation

The financial services sector wants consumer protection laws watered down, claiming they are pushing the cost of financial advice beyond...

Legal & General

Is there a safe way to block estranged child from will?

Can Angie block an estranged daughter from her will without consigning her other children to a drawn-out challenge after her...


How to stop gas pain

Flatulence, commonly referred to as 'farting', is caused by gas in the bowel. Ordinarily, the intestines produce between 500 and...