Long flights can be a serious chore and small, uncomfortable seats with little-to-no legroom make it worse. Well, the airlines understand this perfectly well and that is why they are all too happy to charge more for seats with more legroom and a better spot so that your flight goes from miserable to bearable.
The German-language magazine Reise und Preise took a deeper look into just how much more desirable seats cost: While the unpopular middle seat is sold for about $10 to $65, depending on the airline and length of the route, the preferred seats on the aisle or window, as well as in the front of the cabin area, cost $35 to $120 extra – and that's per route. For a round-trip, the amount doubles.
The seats in the exit rows, which promise even more legroom, can cost $60 to $150 extra when you pick out seats during the booking.
The magazine looked at the conditions of several major airlines, including Air France, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Qatar Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines for its findings.
Regarding seat comfort in general, Reise und Preise found that the dimensions of competing airlines have converged in recent years: The standard for seat spacing in economy class is about 79 centimeters (31 inches).
However, spacing isn't the only decisive factor in the newer generation of seats: The seat pockets have been moved upward, and the backrests have become narrower: The resulting "recess at knee height" adds only about 2 to 3 centimeters at best, says the magazine.
The other factor to consider on long-distance trips is the rules regarding carry-on luggage. According to the magazine testers, the weight limit can vary between airlines – while for most it's only 7 kilograms (15 pounds), in some cases it can go all the way up to 12 kilograms.
Checked luggage is a little more standard: As a rule, the weight limit is 23 kilograms. But travellers should always triple-check which fare they're booking, as the maximum baggage allowance and dimensions can differ depending on the category they select.
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