Which Airlines Give You the Most (and Least) Legroom, in One Visual

It's painful to watch

By Diane Rommel

 
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22 August 2016

There's something nauseating about this gif, which shows the shrinking legroom available to air passengers, as based on data collected from seven U.S. airlines:

Is it like watching money being squeezed from your pockets? Well, maybe, maybe not: while flyers have less space than they did in years past, airlines are quick to blame decreased seat pitch not on scrunched-up rows but on thicker chair padding. (Uh, OK.) And they'll also point out that less legroom means additional rows of seats — which should, according to Economics 101, lead to more supply and lower fares. We're not convinced it plays out that way, and in any case, critics contend that more passengers = more safety problems, since it's harder to evacuate 44 rows of passengers than 41.

So that's a mess, larded with rationale that at best sounds like cheerful marketing spin and at worst like Orwellian doublespeak. What's clear from the GIF is that you if value your physical comfort (and are stuck in coach), JetBlue is the way to go, the Big Three aren't doing you any favors and Spirit should be avoided at all costs (though that's true for so many reasons unrelated to legroom).

As for what it makes us think of? This: 

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