Helpline Question of the Month: Should I Pay $97 for 5 More Inches of Legroom?
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Everyone complains about the lack of legroom on economy flights — and the nerve of airlines when they charge extra for a little more comfort. Presented with the choice, Dianna found herself wondering how much five more inches of legroom might be worth
Tag along on Dianna's journey through our Travelers Helpline...
Would you pay $97 to upgrade to a seat with 5 more inches of legroom on the overseas flight? Five inches does not seem like a lot...but maybe it is? The flight is from Chicago to Frankfurt.
New Paltz, NY
Yes I would pay that much for even an inch of extra leg room. I'm 5" 11" so every bit of space counts. If you're a petite person, YMMV.
I'm 6'7" and another 5 inches would mean I won't have the indentations from the seat in front of me in my knees for 2 days after arriving. Yes, I would pay that much in a heartbeat.
My wife and I did exactly that on a United flight to London last year. It was totally worth it. We are not tall (5' 8" and 5' 5"), but even so we find regular coach seating intolerable. Plus, with the extra five inches, you can actually stand up and move out to the aisle without cramming yourself against the legs of the person next to you. Don't think twice, do it.
Totally worth it. If it's a United flight, the regular coach seats are worse than a cattle car. There is NO room for your legs for anyone over 5'3" tall. When the seat in front of you goes back, you have lost even more personal space. $97 is a small price to pay for extra leg room.
La Crescenta, CA
Yes, that flight will seem endless unless you spend the extra dough, and $97 is a pittance.
It could be worth it. I'm assuming that you are talking about United economy plus. I often take United and generally do not pay for economy plus; however, one time I somehow accidentally ended up there on a flight to Brussels. I have no idea how this happened ... just luck. What was best to me was that the economy plus section was not completely full while every seat was taken in the regular economy section. (It does seem like there is more room, particularly when the person in front of you reclines.) I'm generally too cheap to pay for it so I just suffer. If you are traveling with a companion and you have multiple flights on United, you might check their "annual option".
I'm only 5' ½" tall, so I wouldn't pay extra for it. I have, however, ended up in those seats on a long flight, and it was nice. I'd take it if it was offered free again!
I probably wouldn't pay for the upgrade. I choose seats on the aisle so that I can stretch out my leg occasionally. It helps a lot. I think anybody over 5' tall would feel better with the extra legroom.
St. Louis, MO
I'm only 5 feet tall so I wouldn't pay for it. IMO, the airlines are already gouging too much money out of us. But if I was flying to Asia or Australia, I would probably buy a business-class ticket because I couldn't be in a tiny seat for 15-18 hours.
It makes a big difference to me. We ended up in United's Economy Plus to Hawaii, and on the way home were in regular economy and really missed the extra space. I'm 5'9" and hubby is 5'10" so it may depend on how tall you are. My knees always hit the seat in front of me for regular economy.
One more vote for it. I am 5'10" and paid for Economy Plus on my United flight to Paris this summer and it was so worth it. Five inches made a huge difference and for the first time I didn't mind the reclined seat in front of me.
If you're used to one thing, and then given an extra 5 inches, I think you'll definitely be aware of it. Hard not to. Sometimes even an extra inch can mean the difference between misery and pure bliss.
Tempe, AZ USA
At 6'3", I'd spend the $97. That said, much depends on the aircraft and the airline's seating configuration. I recently flew on an American 757 from Boston to Heathrow. It was cramped and passengers complained. The flight back was on an American 767 which had noticeably more legroom. Be aware the airlines often reserve upgrades like Economy Plus for their frequent fliers, or don't make them available at all for certain ticket classes.
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