6 Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers - RespectCareGivers (2023)

by Sarah Walker

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Being plus-size can trigger flight worries. Not being able to fit in a seat can make overweight passengers feel embarrassed, or even worse, lead them to avoid booking a flight at all. Therefore, avoiding negative feelings about body size is necessary in the flight booking process with the help of airline accommodations.

6 Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers - RespectCareGivers (1)

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In this review, we cover the best airlines in the USA to provide overweight passengers with wider seats, that are more accommodating for the same or similar cost, with advanced features. These advanced features include extra baggage space and reclining seats that provide optimal space for the passenger behind.


Six Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers

Below is a list of American airlines to accommodate plus-sized passengers. Some include a fee for upgrades, and some do not. Keep reading for the best choice for you.

  1. Jet Blue
  2. American Airlines
  3. Virgin America
  4. Delta Airlines
  5. Spirit Airlines
  6. United Airlines

6 Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers - RespectCareGivers (2)

Our Top Choice of Airline: Jet Blue

  • Large pitch and width
  • Can board early
  • Early carry on placement on overhead
  • Good customer service

#1. Jet Blue

Jet blueis known for its widened seat capacity for obese passengers. Includes roomy seats for a stress-free flight every time.

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Features and Benefits

  • Wider seats.Jet Blue’s seats are typically32 to 35 incheswide. Some planes are equipped with even larger ones at37 to 41inchesfor optimal weight capacity.
  • Tons of legroom. Up to 7 inches more legroom so overweight passengers will sit comfortably. Stretch and relax to 38 inches of legroom
  • Early boarding.Overweight passengers can easily board their flight early even if they buy a Blue Basic far no reduce stress in chaotic boarding.
  • Early access carry-on space. Extra space is vital for people with larger bags as clothing is extra-large and needs a large bag.

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#2. American Airlines

American airlinesprovide main cabin features to fit your personal belongings with first come first serve early boarding. More space for obese or overweight passengers to enjoy their flight.

Features and Benefits

  • Legroom. When the passenger in front of you reclines back, their seat slides forward to give your feet and legs enough room and not feel Closter phobic
  • More room.Sprawl out with the roomy space between seats that is helpful for plus-size passengers.
  • Main cabin extra.Store your carry on before anyone else to get the most room to fit your free bag and personal bag
  • Early boarding. Provides early boarding to relieve boarding stress by choosing seats in the main cabin beforehand

#3. Virgin America

Virgin America is a resourceful airline with roomy upgrades for any passenger to sit back, relax and enjoy their flight. Lots of space for plus-sized passengers to feel comfortable flying.

Features and Benefits

  • Very wide seats.Typically, 32 inches and up to 38 inches on other Virgin America planes. 38 inches is one of the largest seats a plane is designed with for the most spacious seating.
  • More legroom. Enough space to recline back and relax so you can stretch out your legs and is an appreciated addition for overweight passengers.
  • Footrests.Provided footrests with enough room to not annoy the person in front of you with provided space to recline.
  • Leather seats. New Recaro leather seats for comfort to hold large weight.

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#4. Delta Airlines

Delta airlinesis equipped with larger seating to accommodate overweight passengers. Some passengers may have to pay an extra fee for an upgraded seat.

6 Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers - RespectCareGivers (3)

Features and Benefits

  • Provides wide seats. A passenger who is overweight can either ask to be reseated beside an empty seat and just flip the armrest up for an optimal sitting room. Or, the passenger can pay a fee to upgrade to First class with widened seating.
  • Bulkhead seats.Delta provides bulkhead seats that give you extra legroom to stretch and feel comfortable during your flight.
  • Great customer service.Obese passengershave statedthat they have been treated with nothing but kindness and respect on board. A friendly worker can make a huge difference when overweight passengers may feel awkward or uncomfortable when requesting a larger seat.
  • Large seat sizing.first-class is 38-39 in with a width of 20 in. The main cabin is 31-32 inches of legroom with a width of 17 inches.

#5. Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlineshas lower-cost flights where they can accommodate overweight passengers in theirBig Front Seats.Big Front Seats come with an extra fee in a booking depending on availability

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Features and Benefits

  • Larger seating. The big front seats are ideal for overweight to obese passengers. A size of 36 in pitch and 18.5 in wide makes for enough room for larger passengers to fly comfortably.
  • Legroom.There is lots of legroom for large legs to fit and stretch out behind the seat in front.
  • Front seats. If you do not want to pay more for the Big Front Seats and are a passenger that needs more legroom, the front seats have slightly more legroom than average. You can save money while sitting in a more comfortable spot.
  • Comfortable pitch.A very large passenger of Spirit airlinesstated he was comfortable in the Big Front Seat pitch

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#6. United Airlines

United airlinesaccommodate larger passengers but may have to pay an added fee for an upgraded seat for fitting. However, you can purchase anadditional seatfor the same amount as the original seat if you buy both sets at the same time.

Features and Benefits

  • Provide wider seats.United Airlines provide wider seats if the passenger cannot buckle comfortably in the original seat. Buying a larger seat in advance can save money and make for a safer flight.
  • Legroom.The seats have a 31 in. pitch. The Economy Plus seating (for overweight passengers to upgrade to) gives 34-37 inches of pitch on average. They are located near the front of the plane’s main cabin to make for easier boarding.
  • Economy Plus.Available to book and purchase in all United airlines flights including some United Express airlines.
  • Good customer service.Since they offer a seating range to accommodate overweight passengers, they are helpful and friendly in booking your seating in advance. Chat with customer service online or on the phone.

Things to Consider Before Flying in an Airplane for Overweight Passengers

Size of Seats

Most airline seats on average are typically only17 inches wide. Look for an airline with32 inches and up(38 inches is large enough for obese people) to fit comfortably in an airplane seat to disregard any fitting issues.

6 Best Airlines for Overweight Passengers - RespectCareGivers (4)

Baggage Space

Airlines with extra space on the above bag bin is vital for overweight passengers as their belongings are naturally sized up and larger. Consider an airline with a feature of extra room orearly accessto carry on space or boarding.

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You want enough legroom to comfortably fly – and is especially important for overweight passengers. Seek out an airline with a specifiedextra legroomfeature or reclining chair room for a relaxing flight to fit an overweight passenger’s body capacity.

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Legroom can also be referred to as “pitch” which is the measurement between the passenger seat and the seat in front of it. it is typically measured in inches or centimeters – so the larger the number the more room an overweight passenger will have.

Extra Fee

Some American airlines may need overweight passengers to pay a small added fee to fly in a wider, lengthier space to board smoothly. Fee prices may differ from each airline – however if you do not want to pay for a fee look for an airline that accommodates all sizes for the price of one.

Good Customer Service

Look for an airline company that provides good customer service in their reviews. If nothing good has been stated about the company, it might not mean they give bad customer service. It just might make the overweight passenger feelmore confidentif it’s clearly stated that the airline workers arefriendly.

Being accepted and treated kindly can make a huge difference in how the passenger feels when boarding – thus making for a more comfortable flight emotionally and physically when their needs are accommodated.

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Wrapping Up

In this article, we have discussed the best airlines that will fit obese or overweight passengers, with a consideration guide to help choose a suitable airplane.

The features and benefits to look for are roomy leg space, wider seats (32 inches to 38 inches), and early access to carry-on bins or boarding.

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In our opinion, Jet Blue is the best airline because they offer everything a plus-sized passenger would need. Top features include enough leg space, early access to boarding and overhead bins, and wider seats.

Flying when you are overweight doesn’t have to feel shameful or embarrassing with these top-tier airlines. They provide optimal comfort to embrace any weight person to get to their destination.

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  • Best Luggage For Seniors


What is the most plus size friendly airline? ›

Southwest offers a 17.5 inch seat in standard economy, which isn't the widest out of all the US airlines, however, Southwest is the most generous airline when it comes to flying as a plus size.

What is the best seat on a plane for a big person? ›

The best seat for a larger person

Larger passengers will find an aisle seat to be the most comfortable. For starters, they have just one passenger seated next to them should the middle seat be taken. Secondly, on some planes, it's possible to raise the aisle armrest to make more room.

What airline has the most comfortable seats? ›

1. JetBlue
Seat dimensionsSeatback screensPower outlets
Pitch: 32 to 34 inches Width: 17.8 to 18.4 inchesAll flightsPower and USB outlets on most flights
Jul 30, 2021

Is Delta Airlines plus size friendly? ›

Delta Airlines

Delta is also considered a plus-size friendly airline, offering seats in its Economy Class that range from 17.9 to 19 inches. Delta's seatbelts range in size from 40 to 45 inches.

What airlines fly in and out of fat? ›

No matter where your trip ends, it can begin on one of several major airlines at the Fresno Yosemite airport including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Aero Mexico, Delta, United, and Volaris.

Where not to sit on a plane? ›

According to the FAA report looking at accidents and deaths between 1985 and 2020 the worst place to sit is in the middle of the plane. Seats in the middle of the cabin had a 39% fatality rate, while the front third had 38% and the rear third 32%.

What seat on a plane is smoothest? ›

The best seat on the plane to avoid turbulence is either over the wings or towards the front of the aircraft. The wings of the plane keep it balanced and smooth, whereas the tail of the aircraft can bounce up and down more.

What happens if you cant fit into plane seat? ›

If airline staff determines that you will not fit into one seat, they can require you to purchase another one. The seat will be offered at the lowest possible fare at the time of purchase.

Which airline has most seat room in economy? ›

Airlines with the Most Seat Space in Economy
  • Jet Blue. Jet Blue is the leader in the “most pitch” and “widest seat” contest because the majority of their economy and coach class seats are roomy. ...
  • Air Canada. ...
  • Virgin America. ...
  • Hawaiian Airlines. ...
  • American Airlines. ...
  • Cathay Pacific. ...
  • Emirates.

Where is the most stable seat on a plane? ›

So, what seat should you pick to ensure a smooth ride? A seat directly over the wings (typically found in rows 10 to 30) is your best option to reduce the sensation of turbulence, says Dr. Quay Snyder, the president of the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service.

What size seat belts does Delta use? ›

According to travel review site the Points Guy, Delta's seatbelts range in size from 40 to 45 inches. That's shorter than American Airlines' and JetBlue's belts, which measure from 45 to 47 inches and 45 inches, respectively, but still longer than Southwest's belt, which clocks in at just 39 inches.

What is the maximum weight limit for Delta comfort? ›

Weight restrictions at no extra charge vary by cabin. Basic Economy, Main Cabin, and Delta Premium Select passengers should follow the standard 50 lb limit per piece. Delta One, First, and Business passengers should follow the 70 lb limit per piece.

Are Delta seats wider? ›

When comparing Delta Comfort Plus seats with main cabin, you typically get an extra 2 to 3 inches of room in Delta Comfort Plus. Delta's economy class seats have 31 to 32 inches of pitch (varies by aircraft), and premium economy seats measure at about 34 inches.

Will a size 24 woman fit in an airplane seat? ›

You will be fine. at size 24 your bottom will fit in the seat BUT you may need a seatbelt extender (ask stewards as they pass) and you may find the table in front doesn't come down full.

Do airlines accommodate obese passengers? ›

In general, obese passengers on airlines who require a seatbelt extender and/or cannot lower the armrests between seats are asked to pay for a second seat on their flight, unless there are two empty seats together somewhere on the plane. Overweight passengers have little to no choice when it comes to this rule.

Which airline has the narrowest seats? ›

And this isn't just a thing with low-cost airlines. Today, United can slot you into a seat with 30 inches of pitch and a tiny 16-inch-wide plot for your butt. In terms of seat width, United is actually worse than Spirit, where the narrowest seat is 17.75 inches.

What is the roomiest airline? ›

JetBlue Airways and Silver Airways: 18 inches

In straight measurements, JetBlue Airways takes the top spot for widest seats just as they do for average economy legroom among U.S. domestic airlines.

Is Southwest Airlines fat people friendly? ›

Southwest's customer of size policy is a size-inclusive rule that allows passengers in larger bodies to have two seats on any Southwest flight at no extra charge. This policy helps large travelers fly more safely, 1 and allows passengers (in bodies large and small!) more comfort in flight.

Is Southwest Airlines fat friendly? ›

Are Southwest seats fat friendly? Southwest seats are generally the same size as those found on other airlines, but their Customer of Size policy allows plus size travelers to purchase an additional seat (which can later be refunded) for a more comfortable travel experience.

What is the bumpiest part of plane? ›

If for some reason you're looking for the bumpiest ride, according to Smith, consider “the far aft—the rearmost rows closest to the tail.” That said, if a plane hits a pocket of turbulence, the whole plane shakes, and seats over the wing will not be spared from the experience.

Is it better to sit in back or front of plane? ›

A scientific magazine 'Popular Mechanics' did a study in 2007 of air crashes in the US since 1971. The study concluded that passengers who sit in the back rows “are 40% more likely to survive a crash” than those in the front. Statistics provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) support this finding.

What is the most comfortable way to sleep on a plane? ›

The truth about how to sleep on a plane: Sit up straight. Yep, leaning forward is the best way to get a little shut-eye. "Leaning forward over the tray table is the best seat position for maximizing rest," said The Sleep Judge spokeswoman Haley Green. "Reclining and leaning to the sides are the worst positions."

What is a beware seat? ›

“Beware” Seats are labeled with a purple icon. This means that you'd rather avoid it. Such seats are usually characterized by several drawbacks such as no window, little legroom, seat pitch or even restricted recline.

What are the most turbulent months to fly? ›

Winter and summer are the most turbulent months to fly. During winter, there are strong winds and blizzards. During the peak of summer when it is very hot, convection turbulence occurs, especially when flying over cities and mountains during midday.

What row is best on a plane? ›

Exit rows, aisle or window seats, and anywhere close to the front are typically considered the best seats on a plane. On a short business trip, you might want an aisle seat near the front of the plane so you can debark as quickly as possible on arrival.

Can size 22 fit in an airplane seat? ›

A size 22 won't have difficulty fitting in a airline seat, and doing up the seat belt. Don't worry.

How big can you be to fit in a plane seat? ›

Check seat belt length before buying a ticket
AirlineSeat Belt Length
American Airlines45 to 47 inches
Delta40 to 45 inches
Hawaiian Airlines51 inches (42 inches for bulkhead seats)
JetBlue45 inches
4 more rows
Oct 27, 2019

Can an airline refuse a fit to fly? ›

The airline you plan to fly with needs to make sure it is medically safe for you to fly, so you might need to tell them about any health condition you have. Airlines might not let you travel with them: if they are concerned that you have a medical condition that might get worse during a flight.

Which airline economy class is best? ›

Emirates wins award as the World's Best Economy Class with Qatar Airways in second place and Singapore Airlines in third position. Scroll down to see all of the economy class airline category ratings.

Which airline has least legroom? ›

So which airlines have the most legroom? Don't look for the real budget carriers like Spirit, Frontier and Ryanair. They can have as little as 29 inches of space. That's almost suffocating.

Do seats get cheaper closer to flight? ›

Specifically, plane tickets usually don't get cheaper closer to the departure date. Instead, flights tend to be the most inexpensive when you book between four months and three weeks before your departure date. According to CheapAir.com, you can expect rates to go up after that period.

Which seat plane is safest? ›

The study also revealed that the dreaded middle seat, despite being uncomfortable, increases your odds of survival. Those in the middle seat at the back of the plane only had a 28 per cent fatality rate, making it the least dangerous place to be overall.

What is the safest passenger plane? ›

According to experts, the model (737-800) is considered to be the safest aircraft ever made. The 737-800 belongs to the aviation giant's next-generation aircraft which also includes 600, 700, and 900.

Does anyone prefer the middle seat on a plane? ›

It's official: the much-maligned middle seat is the least popular place to sit on an aeroplane. According to a survey of frequent fliers by Virgin Australia, less than one per cent would intentionally select the position as their first preference.

What airline has the widest seats? ›

Which Airline Has The Widest Seats?
  • Southwest Airlines: 17.5 inches.
  • Jet Blue and Silver Airways: 18 inches.
  • Delta, Breeze, and Hawaiian Airlines: 17.6 inches.
  • Alaska, American, and United Airlines: 17 inches.
Oct 29, 2022

Does Delta comfort have longer seatbelts? ›

According to travel reviewer The Points Guy, Delta's seatbelts range in size from 40 to 45 inches, while other airlines such as American Airlines and JetBlue have longer seatbelts, ranging from 45 to 47 inches and 45 inches, respectively.

Do airlines allow you to bring your own seatbelt extender? ›

If you do not require two seats but require a seat belt extension, you may ask for one from a flight attendant on board. You are not allowed to bring or supply your own seat belt extensions. *The average length of the seatbelt extension is approximately 25 inches.

How wide are Delta Comfort Plus seats? ›

Seat Specifications
SEAT WIDTH/PITCH20.9 in/36-37 in 53 cm/89-94 cm17.2 in/34 in 44 cm/86 cm
CHILD SEAT FIT GUIDE Aircraft seat width min-max20.9 in 53 cm17.2 in 44 cm
UNDERSEAT DIMENSIONS (depth x width x height)17 in x 19 in x 10.7 in13 in x 19 in x 11.7 in
1 more row

Is it worth upgrading to Delta Comfort Plus? ›

Delta Comfort Plus can be worth it. If the extra three inches of legroom, priority boarding, or priority overhead bin space is important to you, Comfort Plus can be a much more enjoyable experience. In most cases, it's probably not worth spending hundreds of more dollars for only a slightly better seat.

What is the overweight charge for Delta? ›

Excess Baggage Within the U.S.
Type of BagFees and Rules (Each Way)
BAGS 4 TO 10$200 USD each
OVERWEIGHT BAG51-70 lbs. (23 kg – 31.75 kg) - $100 USD/CAD* 71-100 lbs. (32 kg – 45.36 kg) - $200 USD/CAD* Bags exceeding 100 lbs. (45.36 kg) are not permitted
4 more rows

Is Delta Plus Size friendly? ›

Delta Airlines

Delta is also considered a plus-size friendly airline, offering seats in its Economy Class that range from 17.9 to 19 inches. Delta's seatbelts range in size from 40 to 45 inches.

Which airline has most comfortable seats? ›

1. JetBlue
Seat dimensionsSeatback screensPower outlets
Pitch: 32 to 34 inches Width: 17.8 to 18.4 inchesAll flightsPower and USB outlets on most flights
Jul 30, 2021

Who has bigger seats Southwest or Delta? ›

Delta provides a very comfortable experience with a wider seat (with a lovely leather finish) and entertainment, but Southwest beats them on included baggage and fare flexibility.

Will a size 22 fit in an airplane seat 2022? ›

A size 22 won't have difficulty fitting in a airline seat, and doing up the seat belt. Don't worry.

Which airline has the widest economy seats? ›

Which Airline Has The Widest Seats?
  • Southwest Airlines: 17.5 inches.
  • Jet Blue and Silver Airways: 18 inches.
  • Delta, Breeze, and Hawaiian Airlines: 17.6 inches.
  • Alaska, American, and United Airlines: 17 inches.
Oct 29, 2022

How do morbidly obese people fly on planes? ›

In general, obese passengers on airlines who require a seatbelt extender and/or cannot lower the armrests between seats are asked to pay for a second seat on their flight, unless there are two empty seats together somewhere on the plane.

How big do you have to be to not fit in an airline seat? ›

The airline will sell you the second seat at the lowest available cost. If none are available, the passenger may not be able to fly. Passengers must fit within the 17 inches between armrests or purchase a seat in advance. Those who do not cannot be guaranteed boarding unless a second seat is purchased in advance.

How big do you have to be to have to buy 2 airline seats? ›

American's website states that passengers who need a seat belt extender and whose body extends more than one inch past the armrest will need to buy a ticket for a second seat.

At what weight do you need a second seat on a plane? ›

There is no set weight limit for passengers on commercial flights in the U.S., but some airlines, most notably Southwest, require customers who cannot fit in one seat to book a second.

What is a comfortable airline? ›

US airlines comfort level ranked

JetBlue Airways 5/5. Delta Air Lines 4.5/5. Alaska Airlines 4.5/5. Southwest Airlines 4.5/5.

Which airlines have the least comfortable seats? ›

The Airlines With The Worst Coach Seats — From Best To Worst
  • Delta. If you're going to fly economy, Delta is the way to go. ...
  • Southwest. Stealing second place in The Points Guy's 2021 analysis of best airlines, Southwest is probably the best budget airline out there. ...
  • United. ...
  • Alaska. ...
  • American. ...
  • JetBlue. ...
  • Hawaiian. ...
  • Spirit.
Sep 22, 2021

Which airline has best legroom in economy? ›

The airlines in the U.S. with the most legroom in economy are:
  • JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines: 32 inches. ...
  • Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines: 31-32 inches. ...
  • Delta Airlines: 30-32 inches. ...
  • American Airlines, Silver Airways, and United Airlines: 31 inches. ...
  • Avelo Airlines and Breeze Airways: 30 inches.
Sep 28, 2022


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