A reader from NY who will need to fly next month asked us to pull together some information about flying when tall. We reached out to several airlines and tall people that we know to get some expert tips to make this experience a bit more comfortable.
- Before you buy your ticket, you can use SeatGuru to figure out which airlines and seats have the most legroom to your destination. Try to book the best option that you can afford. In general, budget airlines are going to have the least legroom and on all flights the exit row or bulkhead seats will have a little extra legroom compared to other seats on the same plane. When you can’t get those seats, a seat just behind an exit row is an option because the seats in front of you will not recline.
- When forced to get a seat that will have limited legroom, whenever possible choose an aisle seat. Statistically the aisle and window seats fill first so if the plane is not full, you will be able to angle your legs towards an empty middle seat. In the event that the plane is full, you can angle out into the aisle which will make you more visible to cabin crew who may take pity and switch you into another seat as as happened to me. In addition, on long flights you will want to get up and walk and this will make it easier to get up from your seat.
- When you get on the plane and before it has taken off, politely introduce yourself to the person in front of you and appologize in advance that your knees will prevent him from being able to recline his seat. As a peace offering, a tall friend of mine also offers to buy the passenger in font of him a drink for the inconvenience. It’s kind of a white lie. The other passenger could probably recline anyway and crush your legs, but most reasonable people will understand and appreciate that you gave them a heads up in a nice way.
- Empty the seat back and don’t store items under your seat. You will want every inch of potential leg room. Also, scoot your butt as far back in your seat as you can and sit up on your sit bones to get the maximum horizontal leg room possible
Have any other tips for tall flyers? Let us know in the comments!