/ Travel & Leisure

Your view: how much would you pay for a comfortable flight?

How much would you be prepared to pay for extra legroom on a flight? ‘Not very much’, is the answer from most of you so far. Our poll’s still open, so make sure to cast your vote.

Paul Ryan had this problem recently when flying to the US – being 6ft 6 tall he decided to fork out extra to sit in the exit row seats. And as I’m looking to travel abroad in the next two months, I’m starting to mull over whether I should also pay for the extra leg space.

Exit row seats – where can I put my bags?

John Ward felt that sitting in the exit row seats had its downside, no matter what the cost:

‘What we hadn’t realised was that if you’re in the exit row there is nowhere to put personal bags, which must be securely stowed during take-off and landing, and which would normally go under the seat in front.

‘By the time the cabin staff informed us of this, all the nearby overhead lockers were already full and my wife’s handbag and my flight bag were taken away to another part of the plane.’

Stephen booked a seat with extra legroom, but a last-minute change of aircraft resulted in him losing out. Annoyingly, other passengers who hadn’t asked for the extra space were seated in them instead. Stephen’s seeking compensation and is determined to fly with a different airline next time.

Happy to pay for more legroom

Terry was pleasantly surprised after paying for extra legroom when flying back from Orlando:

‘I was flying with a companion and the only way we could be seated together was to pay $60 extra each (around £36) to sit in the extra legroom seats. This increased the pitch by around 3″ and it was well worth it as it was a night flight and the row in front reclined their seats as soon as the evening meal was over. What bugged me is that the people in front didn’t look behind before dropping their seats back – we could still have been eating for all they knew.’

We’ve kept the poll open to give you more time to vote. Would you shell out more money for extra legroom on flights? What else would you consider paying extra for?

How much would you pay for extra legroom on flights?

Nothing at all (40%, 398 Votes)

£1 to £19 (32%, 320 Votes)

£20 to £49 (21%, 206 Votes)

£50 to £99 (4%, 43 Votes)

£100 or more (4%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,003

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With reference to my comments quoted in the Intro above, perhaps I should mention that the exit row where we were seated had a bulkhead in front of us so there was nowhere to put anything. On some planes the exit row is just a wider gap between two rows of seats and it might be possible in those situations to put hand-baggage under the seats in the row in front and thus keep them under observation and accessible as soon as seat belts can be unfastened. The diagrams used for reserving specific seats do not identify these details.

I think the seat pitch for long and overnight flights should be extra as standard. Even average- height people like me find the present conditions uncomfortable.

If it’s for an overnight flight, the only reason to pay extra is for a flat bed, i.e. business class or first class. Paying for extra legroom is a waste of money.

When I fly in economy, I make sure I’m one of the first to check in online (24 hours before departure) or use my frequent flyer status to choose a seat earlier than this, and I get an exit row seat for free. Sometimes someone with a higher frequent flyer status than me has got in there first, but so be it.

john ni says:
19 May 2015

airlines should consider removing some sets to give us more legroom and comfort and devide the lost revenue to the remaining seat everybody gets more enjoyable flight and they dont lose income

Are we still in a them and us situation, the rich and the less well off? (I hesitate to call those of us who fly “poor”.) In an ideal world we would all fly (or travel by train) reasonably comfortably without having to pay extra. Things have changed since you could travel third class, but not enough progress has been made since. Culture dies hard.

How much I would pay depends entirely on the length of flight so how can one sensibly answer your poll?
A one hour short haul flight is a hugely different thing to 12 hours to West America or somewhere in Asia .
As a general remark , however, I would think its time to pressure IATA to specify minimum standards
that can accomodate people of up to , say 6′ 2″, and safely!! Being wedged in with your knees against the seat in front is an absurdity.

Which? Travel has looked into the issue of whether airline seats are actually shrinking.

Unsurprisingly, we found that seat pitch – the distance from one point in your seat’s headrest to the same point in the one in front – has shrunk significantly in Economy. Conversely, it’s grown in Business. What’s more, seats are noticeably narrower than they were a few decades ago. At the same time, people are getting taller and heavier and passenger numbers are on the rise, so it’s no wonder we are feeling the pinch. You can see the results of our investigation, with relevant measurements, on p11 of the September issue (out on 26 August).

While we appreciate that making optimal use of cabin space helps airlines keep Economy fares competitively priced, there has to be a limit to how much passengers can be squeezed. As a result of our investigation, we question whether the current regulations – those that allow airlines to cram us in – are truly fit for purpose. What do you think?

I recently flew BA from Gatwick to Venice return, we had extra leg-room seats at no extra charge on both flights. There was plenty of room in the overhead lockers for hand baggage so no need to worry about clutter round our feet. The breakfast was awful, but that’s a different problem!