Airplane Seats: What Is Seat Pitch?

Airplane seats

If you work in the aviation industry, you may have heard of the term “seat pitch.” It’s commonly used to describe the legroom in cabins. For a better understanding of seat pitch, keep reading.

Overview of Seat Pitch

Seat pitch is the distance between the seats on an airplane. More specifically, seat pitch represents the distance from a given seat to the next-closest seat in front of or behind it.

The greater the seat pitch, the more legroom passengers have. A seat pitch of 33 inches means the distance from one seat to the next seat in front or behind it is 33 inches.

How Travel Class Affects Seat Pitch

There’s typically a direct correlation between travel class and seat pitch. Higher-priced travel classes offer more legroom for passengers than their cheaper counterparts.

Travel classes include the following:

  • Economy
  • Premium economy
  • Business
  • First class

Economy class typically offers the shortest seat pitch. There’s less space between the rows in economy class than that of the other travel classes.

First class offers the longest seat pitch. Passengers who are willing to pay a premium for a first-class ticket will get the most legroom. For many travelers, the added comfort is worth the extra cost. Business and first-class tickets, with their more generous seat pitch, are typically priced significantly higher than economy tickets.

Seat Pitch vs Seat Width

Seat pitch isn’t the same as seat width. Seat pitch refers to the distance from one seat to another seat in the row in front or behind it. Seat width, in comparison, refers to the distance from one seat to an adjacent seat on the same row.

What’s a Normal Seat Pitch?

As previously mentioned, seat pitch is heavily influenced by travel class. Other factors, however, play a role in seat pitch.

Some airlines are known for offering more legroom than others. American Airlines, for instance, offers spacious seats with plenty of legroom. One report found that American Airlines’ business seats had an average seat pitch of 62 inches. To put that number into perspective, economy airlines often have a seat pitch of just 30 inches or less.

In Conclusion

Airlines are always looking for ways to enhance passenger comfort while maintaining profitability. Some are trying out thinner seat backs to increase legroom without changing seat pitch. Others are testing adjustable seat configurations to make better use of space.

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