Wishing you could get just a little more in-flight legroom without paying for a business class seat? Now you can

Do you dread the airline seat squeeze? Trying to fit your carry-on and your legs into an uncomfortable space? Well, good news. One by one airlines have been rolling out programs that offer slightly larger main cabin seats and a little extra legroom – for a fee, of course. 



Economy Plus, Economy Comfort and Preferred Seating

You might have heard the terms that have started popping up: Economy Plus, Economy Comfort, Preferred Seating. It seems like just about every airline is joining the “buy added legroom” market and, yes, it’s officially a trend.



Some of the airlines offering extra legroom in economy for a fee now include United Airlines, JetBlue, American, Delta, Air France and Virgin. 



If you don’t have elite status and aren’t flying on a full-fare ticket, you’ll have to pay to sit in those enhanced economy seats for fees ranging from $30 to $60 per person. 

Make sure you know what you’re paying for, though, if you opt to upgrade your seat. There are some airlines that charge extra money simply to make a seat selection toward the front of the plane that usually doesn’t have extra legroom.  



For example, U.S. Airways has "choice seats” that are simply seats near the front of the economy cabin. And both Delta and American have “preferred seats” that are usually aisle or window seats towards the front of the cabin.

Get a Better Seat for Free



If you don’t want to shell out any extra money to get prime seating, you still have options.  



  1. Look for a good seat as soon as you book your ticket.
  2. Check back the week of your flight as some people may leave a good seat behind if they get upgraded or change their travel plans. 


  3. Use the online check-in as soon as possible to get access to seats that may not have been available pre-booking, such as exit rows or bulkheads. 



To help you on your quest for prime real estate in-flight – here are a few suggestions: 

  • Seatguru.com offers comparison charts to help you compare seat options across carriers and different aircraft.
  • Expertflyer.com offers free seat alerts that allow travellers to be notified when a better seat becomes available on your flight.  


  • Airfarewatchdog.com has a chart of fees charged by airlines for upgraded and preferred seating.  


Founder and president of Travel Best Bets, Claire Newell has appeared on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Good Day New York, ABC Morning News – Chicago, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and CNN Radio, and is the official travel consultant for Global TV. She has been a spokesperson for Disney’s www.family.com, and featured in promotions for the Vancouver International Airport and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Newell has authored or been featured in articles for Success, Professional Woman, Today’s Parent, Readers Digest and for various newspapers. She is the best selling author of Travel Best Bests – An Insider’s Guide to Taking Your Best Trips, Ever and has just finished her second book.
 
This wife and mother of two has also launched two lines of luggage & travel accessories. Visit www.clairenewell.com for more information.