Best airline for economy leg room in Australia

Stretch out your legs without stretching your pay cheque.

No two people are made the same, and as a result, no two people sit in an economy aircraft seat the same way. Some may find that an economy seat perfectly suits their needs while others may find their knees a little too close to their chest.

The latter is often true with taller passengers.

While booking a seat in business or first class is an option for some seeking more leg room or seat pitch, most of us don’t want to shell out extra dollars simply because we’re taller than others. That’s where researching leg room can come in handy.

By knowing which airlines offer enough room for you, you can book that economy seat without having to be economical with your personal space. Our guide goes through the domestic Australian carriers to help you find that perfect balance between affordability and comfort.

Note: while seat pitch and leg room are sometimes interchangeable they are slightly different. Leg room is the space between you seat and the seat in front of you. Seat pitch is the distance from one point on the seat to the exact same point on the seat in front.

Economy leg room comparison across domestic carriers

AirlineEconomy seat width
Economy seat pitch
Seats with extra leg roomExit row seatExtra leg room seat charge
  • A320 - 45.42cm
  • A321 - 45.72cm
  • A330-200 - 44.45cm
  • Boeing 787 - 43.18cm
  • A320 - 73.61cm
  • A321 -  71.12
  • A330-200 - 78.74cm
  • Boeing 787 -  76.2
Same as exit row seat
  • A320 - 93.61cm
  • A321 - 91.12cm
  • A330-200 - 101.6cm
  • Boeing 787 - 111.2cm
  • $25 (extra leg room)
  • $12 (seat up front)
  • A330-200 - 44.45cm
  • A330-200 - 78.74cm
Same as exit row seatUp to 22.86cm extra leg room$60 or 8,000 Frequent Flyer points
  • A319/A320 -  46cm
  • B737 - 43cm
  • A319/A320 - 72.5cm
  • B737 - 78.7cm
  • A319/320 - N/A
  • B737 - 86.3cm
  • A319/320 - 97.5cm
  • B737 - 96.5cm
  • From $20 (extra leg room)
  • From $7 (seat up front)
Virgin Australia
  • A320 - 45.2cm
  • A330-200 - 44.1cm
  • ATR 72 - 43.9cm
  • Boeing 737 - 43cm
  • A320 - 78cm
  • A330-200 - 78.7cm
  • ATR 72 - 78cm
  • Boeing 787 - 78cm
Same as exit row seatUp to 96.5cm pitch in total$10–175 (extra leg room)
  • SAAB 340B/SAAB 340WT - 46.99cm
  • SAAB 340B/SAAB 340WT - 76.2cm
Same as exit row seat
  • SAAB 340B/SAAB 340WT - 81.28cm

Economy seats for tall passengers


To accommodate for taller passengers, many airlines offer a number of seats with a little more leg room than others.

When booking your flight, you may have to a pay extra for this privilege.

If you want to chance it, you might be lucky enough to score a seat with extra leg room for free when on the plane. It’s not uncommon for tall passengers to be offered leg room seats on flights once everyone is seated – so long as these seats are available.

Extra leg room seats on flights can include:

  • Exit row seat: Typically situated right next to the emergency door, exit row seats don’t have a seat in front of them and offer plenty of leg room. To sit here you will have to meet certain criteria, including being 15 years or older, being able to carry 15kg (the weight of the door) and being willing to assist in the unlikely case of emergency.
  • Seat up front: A seat up front can mean that there won’t be a seat in front of you, giving you bonus leg room. However, it could refer to a seat in the first FEW rows which means you might still have a seat in front of you. Check the seat position before deciding whether it’s ideal for you.
  • Premium economy: An option found more often on international flights, premium economy seats offer a little more in the way of seat width and legroom than a standard economy seat.

Top 5 airlines for economy legroom


1. Jetstar

Budget airline Jetstar has some of the lowest fares in town - and some of the most comparable legroom on a domestic carrier.

  • Fleet includes various ships from A320s to Boeing 787s
  • Extra legroom seats and emergency seats can be purchased from $12 extra
  • Generous exit row room with seat pitch up to 111.2cm

Browse Jetstar flights


2. Qantas

One of Australia's most renowned carriers offers a generous standard seat pitch, which only gets better when you purchase extra legroom

  • Standard seat pitch on the A330-200 is 78.74cm which is the greatest seat pitch compared on domestic carriers
  • Extra leg room or exit seat can be purchased using money or Qantas frequent flyer points
  • Exit row seats can offer over 100cm of seat pitch

Browse Qantas flights


3. Tigerair

This low-cost airline also keeps its extra legroom charges low - with prices starting from $7.

  • $7 fee for a seat up front or $20 for an extra leg room seat
  • Extra legroom chargest vary between short and long haul domestic flights
  • Tigerair's A319/A320 offers one of the widest seats compared at 46cm

Browse Tiger flights


4. Virgin Australia

You can purchase extra legroom on select Virgin Australian carriers for as little as $10.

  • Ability to purchase extra legroom is available on Virgin Australia operated flights numbered VA001 to VA 2999 and VA4000 to VA4999
  • Extra legroom fees start from $10
  • Extra legroom seats can offer up to 96.5cm pitch

Browse Virgin Australia flights


5. Rex

Based in Mascot NSW, Rex offers flights to regional destinations from many major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

  • No business class, so extra legroom seats are exit row seats and seats up the front
  • Flat $4.80 fee for "Rextra" legroom seats
  • Generous standard seat width of 46.99cm

Browse Rex Flights

Top flight deals and sales October 2016

Book Tigerair flights with Expedia

Search on Expedia for a budget flight with Tigerair, where you can add on extras to your flight like accommodation and car hire.

Virgin Happy Hour

Enjoy the Virgin Australia Happy Hour campaign from 4pm every Thursday. Conditions Apply

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question