Seats to Europe for a larger size guy..

Aug 8th, 2019, 03:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 2
Seats to Europe for a larger size guy..

Hi, I'm hoping to travel to either London, Spain, or Paris (only one, lol) in another 1 or 1.5 years.
i'm a little concerned about finding a comfortable airplane seat. I'm larger built (like a football player). If I upgrade to premium economy, will I get a more comfy seat (width), or simply get more legroom?
I don't think I can afford business class, or I would gladly get one of those seats.
Anyone else dealt with this situation for themselves or a traveling companion? How did you handle it ? Thanks
givman152 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 08:36 PM
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There is no one answer on seat size. It varies by airline, and by type of airplane within an airline. You may get help for a particular flight at

Do you have an airline affinity card? For instance, I have a Citibank MC that gets me American Airlines miles and I use them to fly business class, there are also credit cards where you collect points that can be used on different airlines.

You might also find flyertalk a better forum for this discussion.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 02:29 AM
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We recently flut to Europe on Lufthansa and were in Premium econ. For some odd reason we were able to book those seats on UA for the same price as regular econ booked directly through LH. It may have been a glitch, but we grabbed it.
The actual seats were a little wider (18" vs 17.3"), but the # of seats across the plane was 7 instead of 8 so there was a 3" space between seats which gave more elbow and shoulder room. Greater pitch meant a lot more leg room. We're not football player size but definitely enjoyed the extra space.

As noted, look on for airline and airplane /version specific info. You can search by flight #, but keep in mind fleets fleet mix will change in 1 to 1.5 years.

J62 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 05:41 AM
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Check for seat measurements and pitch when you narrow down your flights. Virgin Atlanticís seats are the best sizes offered in Premium Economy. Fly to London and connect to another city if not staying in London.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 06:07 AM
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Welcome to Fodor's!

Here's a useful comparison table for premium economy. Note it tends to become dated pretty quickly, but it's a good first step. . And here's the same table for business class - .

What time of year would you be traveling, and from where? The reason for asking is that - ironically - the peak summer travel period is often the cheapest time of year for business class over the Atlantic; actual business traffic (i.e. travel for work) falls off, so the airlines sell those seats at some discount, and it's not unknown for business class prices to be competitive with premium economy. These fares usually appear around April or May, and are good for travel between late June and late August, but sometimes they're good for longer periods.

Here's a fun website to look for cheap airfares in premium cabins - . Be sure you know your airline and airport codes.

Again, welcome!
Gardyloo is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 07:49 AM
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One trick that we have employed a few times with an overseas flight is to upgrade to the Premium Economy, which seat seems to be the same width as others but which gives extra legroom. My husband books the aisle and I book the window; we have observed that no one wants to pay extra for Premium Economy to be in the MIDDLE seat! Therefore, we put up the arm rests between us and enjoy 1 1/2 seats each! Of course, there is no guarantee that someone will not book the middle, but you can check the seating as your departure day approaches, can't say what I'd do if someone booked the middle!
aliced is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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I've never had arm rests in Premium Economy that can be put up (BA,VS). Checking seat map on day of departure is pointless, those untaken seats will be allocated.

Last edited by Odin; Aug 9th, 2019 at 08:36 AM.
Odin is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 09:03 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks everyone for all the replies. I will probably try to travel in the fall (2020), unless I found a great fare for June or during the summer.
​​​​​​Initially, I thought London would be my top choice, but lately I've been feeling more and more drawn toward Paris. It seems like it's an amazing place to discover. Not saying that London isn't great but, you know.
givman152 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 02:46 PM
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In economy seat width is not going to vary much. I doubt if you would notice a half inch or even an inch. The big plus with the special economy class is the greater seat distance -- front to back. That can pop in around 5" and you will notice that and you might get another inch or so of recline. Super economy is nicer but still not terrific. My cousin is a former 49er lineman and I know exactly what you mean. It is a problem. And business class is really the only solution.
fmpden is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 02:57 PM
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Icelandair’s Saga class seats are pretty comfy sorry don’t know width and it may be more expensive than premium on other airlines but less than Business Class.
historytraveler is online now  
Aug 14th, 2019, 02:33 PM
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My husband is 6'3" and weighs about 290 lbs - built like a football player. We have started flying Delta and booking Comfort+. He gets about 3 inches of additional legroom which makes all the difference to him. We arrive comfortable & clean. Also, drinks are included. A double Bloody Mary for me.
halfapair is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 01:51 PM
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It helps to have an aisle seat . And it definitely helps to be economy plus or exit row. Also look up the plane legroom before booking.

But. My guess is that unless you are really large, the flight over wonít be bad. Iím not petite, and while flights arenít comfortable, itís tolerable. If you decide to travel in between places, especially on low cost airlines, youíll really feel squeezed.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 10:32 PM
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My shoulders are about as wide as an economy seat. Wider. If I sit up straight and have my upper arms just hang down at my sides then my forearms will cover the armrests. If I put my knees together then they will be tight up against the seat in front of me and there would be no recline to that seat. In other words, you don't want me sitting next to you in economy.

Last weekend I flew on a United 787-10 in Premium Plus and liked it a lot. The seat pitch is the same 38" as in Economy Plus but the width is 1.7" wider (19" vs 17.3" according to seatguru). That extra seat width made a big difference for me, plus the armrests (fixed) were wider.

That was LAX-EWR-LAX. The economy ticket was $507 and the two seat upgrades cost $233 and it was well worth it (I was almost ready to bite the bullet and pay $1300+ for first class on a 757). That included a meal each way and very good IFE. With 7 seats in an aisle, instead of 9, the overhead bins weren't stuffed.

The day after that positive experience on United I jumped on a $1040 roundtrip fare LAX to Tokyo in premium economy on Singapore Airlines 77W.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 16th, 2019, 04:28 AM
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Posts: 376
Fellow football player build here. IMO, Premium Economy or higher is worth every cent. I took BA LHR-IAD in Y last year, and the seat width wasn't nearly as much as an issue as the pitch was. My knees fit exactly where the wire from the magazine holder was. It was like having someone jam a wire in the soft part of your lower knee for 7 hours.

However, in case you don't know, be advised that "Business Class" on most intra-European flights are nothing but coach seats at the front of the plane. You're better off getting exit row.

Last edited by LT; Aug 16th, 2019 at 04:55 AM.
LT is offline  
Aug 19th, 2019, 09:44 AM
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Re your destination: you could do two. Say you decided on London fly to London but take a few days in Paris by train through the channel tunnel. This avoids the cramped short flights and the airports.
emmajm is offline  
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