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Q with the more "legroom" seats on international flights

Do you purchase the extra legroom seats on your international flights? It probably wouldn't be a big deal for me because I'm 5'3" but hubby is 6' and the flight from the midwest to AMS will be a long one. What I find interesting is the difference in pricing depending on what airline you fly. Our flights, if we use Delta, only charges $69 for the extra legroom leg of the flight (Detroit to AMS). American (using British Airways) charges almost double for the international leg of the flight (I believe it was Ohare to AMS). We have never flown an international flight so I don't know if this is something we really need to tack on to our flight costs or not.

I welcome any of your expertise in this area!

Posted by
5293 posts

Is British Airways really just 'extra legroom' or is it World Traveller Plus class?

Posted by
544 posts

We have flown to Europe three times and last month to Hawaii, not really considered international but it really is because of the time differences and cost in the islands (almost the same as using Euros). Each time we have flown United because of their consistency and they go almost everywhere we want to. I am 6'1" so the extra leg room is important to me, but for my travel partners, my wife and her mother, it is not a big deal because they are 5'6" and less. I don't care about the domestic part of the flight which is usually New Orleans to Newark or Dulles, but I do purchase Economy Plus for myself. I have no problem sitting alone for 7-8 hours and my TPs feel the same, and I arrive much more refreshed as a result. Prices vary, but in the end the cost for your husband doesn't matter for the reasons noted above. Mine is usually around $120 each way and is well worth it. I see no reason for you to pay the extra money for more leg room and if you book it early enough you can probably find a seat for yourself in a reasonably close proximity to your husband where you can talk with each other if necessary. Most of the good flights to Europe leave the US late at night and you can sleep the entire flight if you like, waking up as the plane lands at your destination. For that purpose it doesn't matter whom you are sitting next to. Hope this helps.

Posted by
731 posts

Marco, you may be right....I was looking at the American Airlines leg of the flights (mainly the return CDG to ORD, this was an additional $130). I've noticed each airlines calls it something different, but each offers 4-7" of extra legroom.

Jim, I never even considered sitting in different locations......this could work out much better for me as my husband will most certainly fall asleep the instant he sits down and his snoring will very likely keep me awake during the long flight, lol!

Posted by
2006 posts

We are both 5'8" and fairly slim but now always take the economy plus or whatever the carrier calls it on the eastbound overnight leg. We have paid around $100 per person on Delta and it's worth it for us. Those few inches add up to valued comfort we find worth the extra cost. Flying home during the day is easier and we economize on that flight with the regular coach fare. On our last flight, United to Paris, it seemed that almost every "plus" seat had a different price, depending on the row or location, near the aisle or not. I was about to say that we just grin and bear it, but really we just bear it. Still worth the money in our book.

Posted by
339 posts

We always get the economy plus if it is offered. I get antsy feet and it is good to stretch out.

Posted by
3575 posts

I'm 5'1'', and my husband is 5'4''; and we still pop for economy plus for the int'l leg of our flights. I find regular economy to be little short of torture for the 10 hours or so from SFO to Europe. Usually, on return flights, we just grit our teeth and bear it, because it never gets to be night. We figure that with lights on, we aren't going to sleep anyway. It doesn't matter how exhausted we become, because we'll just crash when we arrive home. FYI, United charged us $179/pp for that upgrade for our upcoming April trip.

Posted by
731 posts

Thanks for everyone's input. I think we will splurge for the extra room on the long leg over but will go cheap for the flight home.

Posted by
23113 posts

That is the operative statement ---

We have never flown an international flight

You have no idea how packed in you will be on the international flight. On our last flight with Alitalia in economy (eonomy plus was not available) you could not lower the tray table if the seat in front was reclined. The extra inches are critical for any chance at comfort. We also take the economy plus if available.

Posted by
106 posts

I am planning on using the seat guru, great idea. I am going to try to fly Delta and add the economy plus upgrade. I flew on British Airways once and discovered there were at least three levels of economy. I was in the lowest economy. I am 5ft 3in and usually do not have a problem. On that British Airway flight I felt like a sardine.

Posted by
333 posts

I just paid the extra for the economy plus for my Delta flight- both ways. I'm flying from Nebraska to Amsterdam and five weeks later Glasgow Scotland to NE. I took the NE to Amsterdam flight two years ago, just in regular seating and it was fine. However, I was more than willing to splurge for the EP. Not only do you get that bit of extra leg room, you also get significantly more recline and other amenities (early boarding). For me, even at 5'2", it's nice to be able to stretch your legs out and move them around a bit for circulation purposes. The extra recline will be more than welcome. You might reconsider NOT splurging on the way home- as think about it- on the return flight you're exhausted after your travels, your patience is thin, you want to relax and NOT deal with being bumped and jostled, etc. That's when you MOST need a little extra pampering and space, even if you don't sleep (and you're bound to doze if you're exhausted.

Just something to think about. ;-)

Posted by
11294 posts

To emphasize something that was mentioned tangentially above: there are different kinds of "more legroom" seats.

On some airlines, such as United's Economy Plus, the seats are the same as in regular economy, just with more inches between rows (greater pitch). The seats themselves are not wider, nicer, etc.

On some other airlines, such as LOT's Premium Economy, the seats are different. LOT seats are 2-3-2 in Economy, but 2-2-2 in Premium Economy, so the seats themselves are wider (they looked better cushioned and fancier, too).

Read the fine print carefully, or check Seat Guru, to see which kind your airline is using (I have no direct experience with Delta or British Airways).

Posted by
527 posts

Recently flew United E+ from Denverto Zurich...it was well worth the extra$$. I am 6' 4 and it really made a difference. When I returned, I had E+ to Newark and then straight cattle-car to Denver...UGH! Always will go E+ or Business from now on.

Posted by
18 posts

We are booked on Delta to Amsterdam also, and I paid the upgrade to have the bulkhead seats with no one in front of us. It was an additional $89 each and while that seat has a fixed armrest that can't be retracted, which is a limitation on the width of the seat, I love to stretch my legs out and not have anyone else's tray table in my space. I always use seat guru for this type of information. While I would love to fly business class on this long flight, the additional cost of EC is well worth it to me as we redeemed miles and got a great fare. Good luck & safe travels.

Posted by
11613 posts

I fly Delta most of the time and always get Economy Comfort. Small enough price to pay for not feeling like an anchovy.

Posted by
731 posts

We are booked on Delta to Amsterdam also, and I paid the upgrade to have the bulkhead seats with no one in front of us

By "bulkhead seats" do you mean seats in the first row? I stay away from those seats only because then there is no place to put your "personal item"........

edited to say, I know what this is now.....I googled it :)

Posted by
2527 posts

Yes on all longer flights that have such option and feel only slightly less an anchovy. Go figure pricing, but have only experienced the improved seating on United and Delta (plus free booze).

Posted by
2788 posts

When flying from Seattle to Europe every summer for 12 of the last 13 years, it is a 9 1/2 hour flight to where we want to land first. At 6'2" I will pay for what ever constitutes "Extra" in Economy every time. This last summer, 2014, we ended up on Delta after making a KLM reservation and ended up paying $69/each way. When spending almost $2,000 for all of our flights, $69 is a no-brainer.