9 ways to get extra legroom seats on a plane

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View from a plane

In this article, we look at ways to get extra legroom seats on a plane. After all for us tall people, sitting in “normal” seats is both:

After all for us tall people, sitting in “normal” seats is both:

a) painful and

b) can increase the risk of DVT

Long-haul Flights (possibly where there is most need to get extra legroom seats on a plane)

1. Book business/first class

Yes, it’s expensive but perhaps once in your life, you should go and splash out. Book a premium seat, enjoy the journey and stretch out in comfort!

2. Go for the upgrade

You could try and get an upgrade when you get to the airport.  Here are our top tips to give you the best chance to get that upgrade:

2.1. Dress smart – I have been told that in first class they don’t like holey jeans, so look the part.

2.2. Arrive early – Let them know you’re happy to move to first class if the flight is full.  Then keep your fingers crossed!

2.3. Ask politely – Why not ask for that upgrade?  The worst they can do is say no!

2.4. Be loyal – Join the airline’s frequent flyer programme and use their airline as much as possible.

2.5. Check your emails on the run-up to the flight – you might be offered an upgrade at a reduced price.

2.6. Get mad if there is a problem – they might upgrade you to calm you down, but not so mad that the police are called.

3. Build up air miles during the year and use them to upgrade.

There are plenty of ways to build up air miles during the year, from using special credit cards, to swapping Tesco Clubcard points.  Then use them to upgrade your flight.

We highly recommend a website which discusses getting air miles in so much more detail than we are here.  Sign up to their newsletter we promise you will not be disappointed.  The website is called Head for points.

4. Check in online EARLY.

If possible check in online the day and hour check-in opens, that way you have the best chance to get the best legroom seats.  Firstly go for emergency exit seats, if they are gone then visit seat guru to find the next best!

5. Ask at the check-in desk

If you haven’t already reserved them before you go to the airport, still ask at checkout.  There is a chance they may still be able to move you into a better seat.

6. Pay the extra charge when booking to reserve them.

Most airlines now, even budget ones give you the option to pay extra to reserve the emergency exit seats.  It’s a guaranteed way to make sure you get the extra legroom you need.

7. Ask someone in a good legroom seat polity if they will swap.

If you see someone shorter in an extra legroom seat, you could ask them to move.  I have done it a couple of times and it has worked.  I was very grateful and purchased a drink for them from the bar.

8. Tell the cabin crew you can’t brace in an emergency

You could tell the cabin crew that you can’t get into the emergency brace position.  I know for example there is no chance that I could get my head in between my legs on a “normal” airline seat.

The only option to fix this is to move you to a seat where you can, one with longer legroom.  However, there is a chance they could remove you from the flight saying that you cannot act appropriately in the event of an emergency and that puts the airline at risk.

I have personally never used this one, but I have heard people say it does work.

Short-haul Flights

1. Book them if you can

Some short-haul and budget airlines let you book a speedy boarding (which gets you on the plane first to be able to bag those seats) or actually book the required seat.  So check the options for the airline when making the initial booking.

2. Use all of the long-haul methods.


So that’s what we recommend, have we missed any other ways?  If we have please let us know them by leaving a comment below.


Why not discuss this type of issue in our tall community Facebook group called “What’s the weather like up there” (We hope you like the name as much as us!), it’s great to share tall stories like this one, or tall humour, jokes, basically anything tall-related. You can join by clicking HERE.


Why not take a look at some of our other tall related blog posts:

The 32 absolute worst parts about being tall

So how do you respond to common height questions?


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