The airline legroom league... and guess who isn't at the bottom!


The airline legroom league... and guess who isn't at the bottom!Getty

The most extensive survey ever into seat size and legroom on flights has revealed the best and worst airlines in economy.

Budget carrier Ryanair was bottom in the study of 32 leading airlines for seat width, with just 16 inches but for legroom the no-frills airline came 24th with 30 inches, while rival easyJet came 31st with 29 inches.

According to the Daily Mail, easyJet fared much better in the seat width league with 17.5 inches, giving it sixth spot.

This means you might be more comfortable with easyJet if you're a shorter, plumper passenger, but more likely to enjoy a Ryanair flight if you're slimmer and taller.

Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines were rated joint top for legroom, with 32 inches, while Emirates offered the best seat width, with a minimum of 18 inches and a maximum of 20.5 inches.

For seat width, British Airways came eighth with a minimum of 17.3 inches, but only 21st for legroom (30 to 31 inches).

Virgin Atlantic did better on both counts, with seats at 17.5 inches and 31 to 31 inches of legroom.

Business Traveller magazine and its sister website carried out the survey.

Bottom of the table for legroom was BA's sister airline Iberia with a minimum of 28 inches of legroom.

However, the survey noted that over half of Iberia's planes have a larger legroom than this, with 30 or 32 inches.

Passengers can upgrade to 'premium economy' to get extra space without paying business or first-class fares.

Turkish Airlines offers the most premium economy legroom with 46 inches, while Virgin Atlantic came top for seat width in premium economy with 21 inches.

Editor of the Business Traveller Airline Survey supplement, as part of the magazine's November issue, Jenny Southan said: 'If you're flying economy, an inch or two can make a lot of difference after a few hours, so it is worth knowing that while you might get a little bit more legroom on Ryanair than on easyJet, your seat won't recline on Ryanair.

'The airlines are fitting more seats on to the aircraft, although they say that this isn't affecting our legroom because the new type of economy seat cushion is thinner, increasing the amount of legroom by a small margin.

'Airlines are also charging for seats in exit rows or by bulkheads which can provide passengers with up to two extra feet of space.'

More than 8,000 individual items of data from 32 airlines were checked for the survey and the carriers were given the chance to double-check, update and verify figures before they were published.

Revealed! The worst airlines in the world

Revealed! The worst airlines in the world

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