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
|Airline||Economy seat width|
|Economy seat pitch|
|Seats with extra leg room||Exit row seat||Extra 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)
|Qantas||Same as exit row seat||Up 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)
- 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 seat||Up 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
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
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
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 charges 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
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 January 2017