Flight are getting longer, seats are getting shorter and every inch of space is one less Advil. For the most part, all commercial airlines offer seats with dimensions within four inches of their competitors. My god, those four inches are important.  Here are the best long haul economy seats you can find. As with the worst, it’s often about plane and not airline in general

a plane flying in the sky

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER

Lots of 777’s on this list and though its stats don’t outright win in any category, you are receiving a happy medium of both pitch and width with 32 inches of functional pitch and 18.5 inches of width. Though the pitch is matched by at least 15 other planes, the width, comfort and Cathay experience set this one apart.

a large airplane taking off

Qatar Boeing 777-300 + Airbus A380-800

Though the 777-300 will land you a half inch or so extra in width and pitch, both of these seats offer above standard dimensions with a minimum 32 inch pitch and 18 inch width, with most seats offering at least 33 inches of pitch with 19 inches of width. With so many routes around the world, this is one to look for. 

a plane flying over a runway

Thai Airways  Boeing 777-200 ER +  Boeing 747-400 V2

There is a definitive theme in the “best” category, just as there was with the A330 in the “worst” category. Thai Airways 777 200ER is tied for the most pitch at 34 inches and offers a very comfortable 18 inch width. Though the 747-400 V2 shaves an inch off of each category, it still is a list topper. 

a large airplane on a runway

Turkish Airlines Airbus A340-300 

Though narrower at only 17 inches, Turkish Airways’ aging four engine bird offers between 33-34 inches of pitch, putting it in a very short list of chart toppers. Many airlines play the game of “between” so many inches, but when it’s between 33-34 it’s a safe bet.

a plane flying over water

Asiana Airbus A330-300

The Asian and gulf carriers really seem to have human decency covered (at least in the air) and this plane is no exception, offering both excellent pitch and class leading width. You will find 33 inches of pitch, putting it near the top of that list and a whopping 21 inches of width, meaning even the largest of neighbors may not pile over into your lap. A far cry from XL’s nine across…

a white airplane on a runway

Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER + Boeing 787-800 V2

As history shows, the 777-300 seems to edge out competitors on the margins, but when you’re dealing with 18.9 inches of width for the 787 and 19 for the 777, it’s hard to hate too much. Both planes offer between 33-34 inches of pitch and they sure as hell better as most of Japan Airlines flights are over 10 hours long!

an airplane parked at an airport

Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates pride and joy is often considered the best economy seat, though it’s margins make it simply one of the best. You’re getting a minimum 34 inches of pitch and 18 inches of width, but coupled with the in flight entertainment system and over the top Emirates service, it’s hard to beat. 

a plane taking off from a runway

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200,300 + Airbus A380

Singapore is often regarded as a world class five star airline and its seat measurements and features suggest no different. The 777 offers a stellar 34 inches of pitch while the A380, though marginally less in pitch, offers a better than average 19 inches of width. Once again, add up the service, the seats and the in flight entertainment and it’s as good as you can do in cattle class.

a plane taking off from a runway

Oman Air Airbus A330-300

34 inches of pitch in economy is something to cheer about. I give huge credit to Oman air for leaving this A330 as intended with 34 inches of pitch and 18 inch width all in tact. I suppose to compete with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar, you might have to….

a white airplane on a runway

El Al Boeing 767-300

Though you will find less and less of them, El Al’s 767 is far beyond it’s competitors offerings for this aging plane. You will find 33 inches of seat pitch with a very palatable 18 inches of width. 

a group of people sitting in an airplane

It’s nice to know that while competition exists to strip everything but the engines from planes, there is competition at the higher end as well. Trying to capture economy traveler loyalty is a tough market, some could say a game of inches. Frankly, I’m tired of talking about them and to be honest, if I am in economy, I make every effort to pass out before take off. In vino comes sleep. 

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Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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