It Happened to Me

What Passes for Legroom on United Airlines

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

I’m 5’11” (180cm) tall, and here’s what the legroom in United Airlines’ economy class is like once the guy in front of you has reclined his seat. He’d originally reclined his seat all the way, but I was able to talk him into doing it only halfway:

Legroom on United's economy class

As you can see, my knees are touching the seat in front of me. If you’re 6 feet or taller, you’ll probably want to get upgraded to what United calls “Economy Plus”, where you get a little more legroom – about as much as other airlines’ economy class seats.

10 replies on “What Passes for Legroom on United Airlines”

At 6’4″, you’ve got it easy being 5’11”. The person in front of me gets the lucky experience of not being able to put thier seat back. As soon as the seatbelt light comes off I prop my knees under the tray which effectively locks the seat into place. Yes, they’ll shake and try to push the seat back, but inevitably give up.

And ironically, I find the smaller the plane, the better the leg room.


Ugh – @ 6’2″ I will do just about anything to avoid the hellish experience that is United airlines. Mainly because of the legroom but their planes are generally in pretty crap condition too. When booking with AC I’m always watching for a surprise United Code share to slip it’s way in…

I’m also 6’2″, but my height is disproportionately in my legs. Thus, United is my mortal enemy. I flew with them once. Never again. Never, I tell you.

Any flight longer than two hours results in me paying stupid amounts of money to secure an exit row.

Yet another reason I refuse to fly on an American-operated airlines!

What about asking for a wing/emergency exit row, if you absolutely have to fly on those airlines? I took a Qantas flight on Saturday and was seated there; it easily had 50% more leg room than regular rows (Im told this is common).

UGH! Yeah, I had the same experience, same height, same airline. I was flying down to the ‘states with UA and it was horrible. Then I took Virgin America from SEA to SFO and it was quite awesome. I liked the mood lighting. Too bad VA doesn’t fly to Canada.

Try being 6’6″ and stuck on a flight from San Francisco to London (10 hrs 34 mins…) It was hell for the first four hours, then the flight attendant took pity on me (or it was just my repeated callings on the attendant button) and moved me to an exit row…

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