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Is JetBlue a Good Option for Plus-Size Travelers?

As a plus-size traveler flying economy, JetBlue won me over.

When I received my ticket to fly from North Carolina to London, I immediately panicked when I noticed the overnight flight was for an economy seat. The panic intensified when I realized it was on an airline I had never flown.

I spent hours going down the rabbit hole researching the customer-of-size and pre-boarding policies and customer experiences. On TikTok, I searched the exact routes for real-time reviews. With all this newfound information, I felt ready for my first JetBlue flight. Let’s dig into my experience flying in economy on an overnight flight as a plus-size traveler.

Jetblue Does Not Have a Policy for Customers-Of-Size

Southwest is a popular airline choice for larger passengers because of its generous customer-of-size policy. In short, the policy allows passengers to obtain a second seat for free. Other airlines that require passengers to purchase additional seating sometimes will refund the price of the second seat if the flight has opened seats. It is a gesture of good faith and not a cemented policy.

JetBlue does not have a specific policy listed on its website for larger passengers. In a phone call before my flight, the representative directed me to the “booking extra seats” section of the website. The airline allows passengers to book any combination of seats (beside, in front of, or an entire row) for their comfort. Any extra seats purchased would be the same price as the initial seat, dependent on the fare class. To determine if a second seat is needed, passengers should be able to put the armrest down. If any part of their body encroaches into the next seat, airlines request that passengers proactively purchase additional seating.

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Can Plus-Size Passengers Pre-Board With JetBlue?

Every so often on social media, a video or article surfaces of a plus-size traveler sharing a story of their discomfort due to airline seating. Sometimes, those passengers have to deboard to take another flight. More commonly, if the flight has open seats, they are moved to a different row that can accommodate their needs.

I prefer to avoid both of the above scenarios. My go-to method for any flight where I am not seated in first class is to pre-board. It allows me to board the plane ahead of the crowd to assess the situation. If I have any concerns, I can privately address them with the stewardess.

Once the agents were at the gate, I shared my worries about being a plus-size traveler on a new airline and asked what the protocol for preboarding was. Non-disabled passengers were allowed to board the plane after those who needed assistance getting down the jet bridge.


What the JetBlue Seats Were Like

Typically, with long flights, I fly in first class or that airline’s version of the main cabin extra. As a tall and larger passenger, this is where I find the most comfort for myself and my seatmates. But, sometimes, upgrades are not an option. With an economy ticket, I knew seats would be a concern for me without a customer-of-size policy. Even if the seats were cozy, the legroom is where I have the most discomfort. However, JetBlue prides itself in having the most legroom, even in economy seating, averaging a 31-inch seat pitch. The economy seats are upwards of 18.25 inches. Their seats are more than the average size offered by their competitors’ economy seats.

My first flight for this trip was from Raleigh-Durham to Boston-Logan. Since this was a shorter flight (and nearly empty), it was easy to use the first leg of the journey as a test run. I could put the armrest down without it digging into my side. Huge plus! I could also put the tray table down without nudging my midsection, a problem that occurs in economy on other airlines.

The second flight from Boston-Logan to London Heathrow provided the same comfort. The armrest came down comfortably, as did the seat tray table. I grew anxious as fellow passengers began to “settle in” for the night. Would my comforts be disrupted by the person ahead of me reclining their seats? To my surprise, it was not. Somewhere along the way, they chose to recline their seat, and I did not notice until the flight attendant asked them to return it to the upright position.

The additional seat and leg space were also beneficial for doing in-flight leg and foot exercises without disrupting my neighbor with constant movement, which I appreciated! Before returning to my seat after bathroom breaks, I spent a few minutes in the galley doing stretches to help with circulation. The galley was a great place to stand and stretch without blocking aisle space,  hovering over other passengers, or disrupting the flight attendants.

Battle Of the Bathrooms

My least favorite part of any in-flight experience is using the restroom. I’ve seen straight-size and plus-size passengers alike complain about the tight spaces. Ordinarily, bathrooms in the economy section feel cramped and claustrophobic-like. Although I did have to sidestep into the narrow opening, once inside, I had a decent amount of space to move about. I like to use the bathrooms at the back of the plane, so I am unsure if the bathrooms in the middle or front offer more space.


So, What About the In-Flight Amenities

Honestly, as a person who dislikes the tight spacing of economy seating, the perks could have ended with the extra space. Thankfully, JetBlue is more forward-thinking. Here’s how I rank the other amenities:

First, there is free Wi-Fi for everyone. Unlike its competitors, Wi-Fi is not based on being an account holder or restricted by partnerships with cell phone providers. There were no dead zones either. My phone stayed connected for the duration of the flight. I could scroll through TikTok, check email, and stream shows from my device. Each seat also has power outlets. Huge bonus!

Second, you don’t need to worry about having any drink vouchers for international flights with JetBlue. With some airlines, during the meal service, alcoholic beverages are offered for free. With JetBlue, you can drink for free the entire flight.

And finally, in economy class, each passenger received a reusable Stasher bag containing a sleep kit (earplugs and eye mask), socks, a refreshing face wipe, breath mint, and Proud Skin facial moisturizer. With it being an overnight flight, I would have liked to see more hygiene items included, such as a lip or hand balm for dying skin or mouthwash.

The Overall JetBlue Experience

In just one flight, I was an immediate fan of JetBlue. It was one of the most seamless travel experiences I have ever had. I liked that any information I needed was readily accessible online or by calling the customer service number. Each encounter with JetBlue staff, from the gate agents to baggage claim personnel, was an above-and-beyond experience.

It felt like genuine customer service was part of their company culture. I’ve found the same superior service on the flights that followed. While each person will have a different experience, in my opinion, they are a great option to consider for plus-size travelers. My only regret is that it took me so long to become a customer.

mikehofmeister0610 February 8, 2024

what is considered plus size? I am 6'4" and 300#.

leroykelley1814 February 7, 2024

That extra inch and a half can make a big difference. Especially when compared to spending 15 hours on a packed 787 heading to South Africa with 17 inch seats. I find it interesting how some narrow body planes now have wider seats then wide body planes due. Oh yeah its the bean counters.

juliemorrall6287 January 11, 2024

I fly quite a bit and I have found that JetBlue is my favorite airline. I'm not sure why it has such a bad rap but the seats are comfortable in the flights are usually on time and the crew is okay. Occasionally the TV sets don't work so I always pack a book. I am a larger size person and truly find their seats the most comfortable of the many airlines I have flown. I haven't taken an international flight on JetBlue yet but after reading this article would definitely consider it.