The standard width of an airplane seat on a U.S. commercial flight is 17 inches wide, with a seat pitch (legroom) of 30-32 inches.
However, if you’re looking for the most comfortable flying experience as possible, you’ll want to know which airlines have the widest seats and which airlines should be avoided due to their narrow seats.
This is especially important if you are overweight and want to know the best airlines for overweight passengers.
Airlines With the Widest Seats
JetBlue is the airline with the widest seats in Economy Class.
The vast majority of JetBlue’s seats are 18.4-inch seats wide, with the narrowest being 18 inches wide.
Delta Airlines and American Airlines have the widest seats when flying in Premium Economy with their 18.5-19 inch wide seats.
Outside the USA, Air Canada is the one of the best airlines for anyone looking for wide seats, though this only applies to their Premium Economy offering.
The seats are 20 inches wide.
Airlines With the Narrowest Seats
United, Southwest and Sun Country Airlines are the airlines with the narrowest seats.
When flying with these airlines, you can expect to be seated in a seat that is no wider than 17 inches in Economy Class.
Overweight passengers should therefore avoid these airlines at all costs.
What Happens if a Passenger Can’t Fit in Their Seat?
Generally, if a passenger is unable to fit in their seat, they will be required to purchase a second seat.
However, some airlines do their best to accommodate passengers who are unable to fit in their seat by offering a second seat for free or refunding the advance purchase of a second seat if the flight isn’t fully booked on the day.
Note that there is no specific size that a passenger needs to be to buy two airline seats. If a passenger is unable to be comfortably seated with both armrests down, then a second seat will be required.
While this second seat can be purchased in advance or on the day, if a second seat is not available, then a later flight will have to be taken.
Related: Do Airlines Charge More for Overweight Passengers?
How to Know If You Will Fit in an Airplane Seat
If you want to know if you will fit in an airplane seat, find out the seat pitch and width of the aircraft that you will be flying on.
While seat width is self-explanatory, seat pitch is the space between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it
You can find out more in the following article: How Do I Know If I Will Fit in an Airplane Seat?
No Weight Limit for Passengers
There is no set weight limit for passengers on commercial flights in the U.S.
A passenger of any weight and size is able to fly, though it is likely that an overweight or obese passenger will need to purchase a second seat.